Cowboys Tag Tony Pollard


Cowboys running back Tony Pollard | Image by Cooper Neill/Getty Images via NBC DFW

The Dallas Cowboys have decided to use their franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard, the team announced Monday.

After a career season in which he surpassed 1,000 yards for the first time and was named to his first Pro Bowl, Pollard was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team of his choosing.

By placing the franchise tag on him, the Cowboys get to keep him for another year and continue negotiating a long-term deal. If a long-term agreement is not reached, Pollard will make $10.09 million this season.

Dallas and the 31 other teams of the NFL have until 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, March 7, to decide whether to use their franchise tags.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last week, Cowboys chief operating officer, Stephen Jones, mentioned the team would likely use the franchise tag but would not commit to Pollard being the choice.

“Not out of the question, but we haven’t decided on that yet,” Jones told reporters at the combine. “More than likely, we’ll use our tag though, not necessarily on Tony, but we’ll use our tag.”

The franchise tag allows teams to keep players with whom they have yet to agree to a deal for another season. Those players are considered signed to one-year contracts and will make the average salary of the top five players at their position for that year.

Teams can only apply the tag to one player yearly, and the Cowboys have used theirs every year since 2018.

The team and Pollard will have until July 17 to come to an agreement, or they will have to wait to resume negotiations until next offseason, and he will play the season under the tag.

Pollard was a fourth-round pick out of Memphis in 2019. He played both running back and receiver in college and has come into his own as a complementary running back with Ezekiel Elliott.

The Cowboys will also have to decide on Elliott’s future this offseason after he had career lows in many categories.

Elliott’s performance has declined since he signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension in 2019. He ran for over 1,000 yards three times in his first four seasons but has only reached that mark once in the last three years. He has four years remaining on the deal and is due $10 million in 2023.

After Pollard’s emergence, the team may want to consider a more lucrative option as its complementary back.

The Cowboys have 19 more players entering unrestricted free agency, including tight end Dalton Schultz, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, and cornerback Anthony Brown.

Teams will be allowed to start contacting players during the “open negotiating window,” which starts at noon ET Monday, March 13, and goes until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, March 15, when free agency and the new league year officially begin.

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