Tony Pollard is arguably the most polarizing player on the Dallas Cowboys. The backup running back has shown big-time talent in flashes, but he has yet to carry the full workload on the ground.
Still, the talent is obvious. Pollard is dangerous as a rusher, backed up by his 5.5 yards per carry last season. He is also a threat in the receiving game, as he averaged nearly eight yards per reception in 2021. Then, of course, he is a dynamic return man, returning a kickoff for six points against the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day.
Ezekiel Elliott is still the lead back in Dallas, which makes Pollard’s role on the offense tricky. The Cowboys are reportedly determined to increase Pollard’s role in 2022, so it will be interesting to see how much Pollard is on the field versus Elliott.
Tony Pollard is a free agent next offseason. Therefore, the Dallas Cowboys will have an important decision to make following the 2022 campaign. Will the team want to extend their 2019 fourth-round draft selection, Or, will the Dallas Cowboys allow him to walk for nothing but a potential comp pick?
How the market could impact negotiations
When projecting potential free agent deals, it is always smart to look at previous contracts to get an idea of what things could look like. In the case of Pollard, the Dallas Cowboys will likely be using the secondary running back market to lay out an extension.
Running backs such as Nyheim Hines, Chase Edmonds, and Kareem Hunt all jump to mind. All three have been big components of a split backfield. Hines with Jonathan Taylor, Edmonds with James Conner, and Hunt with Nick Chubb. Therefore, there are some parallels.
Here are some notable AV/Y contracts for RBs:— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) July 5, 2022
Nyheim Hines: $6.2M
Chase Edmonds: $6.05M
Kareem Hunt: $6M
Kenyan Drake: $5.5M
Cordarrelle Patterson: $5.25M
Would Tony Pollard accept a Nyhiem Hines type deal with Dallas?
Pollard has often been used as a change-of-pace back during his career in Dallas. Elliott is the clear leader in the backfield, and Pollard has struggled in areas such as pass protection. The unknown that comes with him leading a backfield could lead to the Cowboys signing Pollard to a bit of a discount.
Perhaps Pollard emerges in a bigger role this season, which would then of course increase his value on the open market. But for now, the above names are a good indicator of what Pollard may sign for in free agency.
The upcoming season is huge for Tony Pollard and the Dallas Cowboys. If Pollard does take full advantage of the new role he’s given, it could present the Cowboys with a tough decision in regard to whether or not they can pay him in 2023.
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