The Dallas Cowboys have placed a franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard for the 2023 season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It’s a move that was expected from the organization, as questions still linger about Ezekiel Elliott’s future with the team.
Pollard will be playing on a one-year deal under the franchise tag, which is worth $10.1 million. The move by Dallas indicates that there aren’t many concerns about the running back’s ability to play next season, despite suffering a leg injury in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Pollard put up big numbers for the Cowboys during the 2022 season. He rushed for 1,007 yards and accounted for 12 total touchdowns. He also totaled 371 receiving yards.
The 2022 campaign marked Pollard’s fourth year in the league, spending all in Dallas. Last season was, by far, his most productive since arriving in the NFL.
While the combination of Pollard and Elliott could be one of the best in the league next season, it may not come to fruition. Based on recent reports, there’s a good chance Zeke and the team part ways before the 2023 campaign kicks off.
Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott at Potential Impasse?
A big reason why the Dallas Cowboys wanted to secure Tony Pollard for at least another season comes because of the uncertainty with Ezekiel Elliott. Per Matt Lombardo of Heavy.com, the two sides may not reach an agreement.
Dallas reportedly wants Elliott to accept a major pay cut to stay with the team. That doesn’t seem too likely.
“The Dallas Cowboys could be on the verge of giving Ezekiel Elliott an ultimatum, as the franchise and running back appear locked in a stare-down as the offseason begins,” Lombardo said. “According to multiple league sources familiar with the running back market, I’m told the Cowboys are poised to ask Elliott to take a ‘massive pay cut’ in order to stay with the team.”
Four years remain on Elliott’s six-year, $90 million contract. His contract includes an out ahead of the 2023 season. The Cowboys would take an $11.8 million dead cap hit by releasing the running back. Elliott will be responsible for $16.72 million against the cap if he returns next season without a restructured contract.
Elliott has spent his entire seven-year NFL career in Dallas. Last season, he totaled 876 rushing yards (a career low) and scored 12 touchdowns on the ground.