The Dallas Cowboys plan to bring Tony Pollard back next season, one way or another.
The team will use the franchise tag on the running back if the two sides can’t reach an agreement on a long-term contract, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The deadline to use the franchise tag is Tuesday.
Speak with reporters later on FridayCowboys owner Jerry Jones declined to comment on the report, but also called Pollard an “integral part” of the team.
Without the tag, Pollard would hit free agency after the best season of his career. The former fourth-rounder posted a career-high 1,007 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns despite split runs with Ezekiel Elliott, who had the most goal-line attempts. Pollard also had 371 receiving yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Pollard is recovering from a fractured fibula sustained in the Cowboys’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but it’s would have believed he would be ready long before training camp. Using the tag on Pollard would also mean not being able to use him on pending free agent tight end Dalton Schultz and safety Donovan Wilson.
The Cowboys’ plans as a running back are one of the biggest NFL stories of the offseason. In addition to guarding Pollard, Dallas must make a decision on Elliott, who has a career-low 876 rushing yards and a career-worst 3.8 yards per carry. Elliott is set to carry a $16.7 million salary cap in the 2023 season per OverTheCap, but the Cowboys could also save $4.9 million in cap space by releasing him.
Cowboys executive vice-president Stephen Jones also hinted earlier this week the team wouldn’t mind using their 26th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on a running back. Texas star Bijan Robinson was a popular talking point when discussing the Cowboys’ draft plans.
Anyone running the ball for Dallas next season, and it now looks like Pollard will definitely be one of those people, they can probably expect to see an increase in work from last year. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy recently expressed his desire to run the ball more after the departure of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Raiders have same plans for RB Josh Jacobs
Pollard wasn’t the only running back reported to likely receive the franchise tag, as last season’s running leader appears to be in the same boat.
The Las Vegas Raiders will also use the franchise tag on running back Josh Jacobs if they can’t reach a long-term deal. according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Jacobs led the NFL in rushing yards last season with 1,653, plus 12 touchdowns and 400 receiving yards. With former quarterback Derek Carr second on the team in rushing yards with 102, the Raiders had no choice but to keep Jacobs.