Cowboys Rumors: Tony Pollard Could Receive Franchise Tag From DAL In NFL Free Agency |  News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Cowboys Rumors: Tony Pollard Could Receive Franchise Tag From DAL In NFL Free Agency | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 16: Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFC Wild Card playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2023 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

If it means keeping Tony Pollard, the Dallas Cowboys could be willing to invest a lot of money in their backfield for the 2023 NFL season.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Cowboys would consider applying the franchise tag to Pollard to prevent him from leaving in free agency.

Ian Rapoport @Rap sheet

Oh @NFLGameDay: The #Cowboys trying to keep RB Tony Pollard and considered a franchise tag option; Regarding the #49ersNick Bosa’s massive extension is a priority for this season. pic.twitter.com/gm2fNqmE8L

The franchise tag would set Pollard’s salary at a projected $10.1 million for next year.

Dallas has already signed Ezekiel Elliott for $16.7 million, so both rosters would be an expensive endeavor.

Cutting Elliott could be an option when the moment comes.

Releasing or trading him before June 1 would result in a dead cap hit of $11.9 million but a savings of $4.9 million. If recognized as a post-June 1 cut, it would spread his dead hitting money across 2023 ($5.8 million) and 2024 ($6 million) and save $10.9 million.

If the two return to Dallas, it could create a delicate dynamic.

While he could once lay claim to being the best running back in the NFL, Elliott may not be his team’s best running back anymore. The 2016 All-Pro ran for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns and averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 15 games during the regular season.

Meanwhile, Pollard led the Cowboys in rushing yards (1,007) and averaged more total yards per carry (5.2) than Elliott en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance.

B/T Gridiron @brgidiron

Tony and Zeke carry the last 40.

Pollard has taken over Dallas đź‘€

(h/t @Ihartitz) pic.twitter.com/yrhCvGGkJ2

As good as Pollard and Elliott have been together, the Cowboys may have to choose one or the other.

Per Spotrakthe team is already spending the fifth most money ($17.6 million) on the current position for 2023. Tagging Pollard would send Dallas to the No. 1 on that list, well ahead of the Green Bay Packers ($23.4 million).

The Cowboys can avoid that situation by signing Pollard to a multi-year contract that pays him a lower salary. But the 25-year-old may not be all that keen to leave money on the table as his earning power could peak this season.

If the franchise tag is the outcome for Pollard, it could force Dallas to make some tough decisions with an eye towards the salary cap.

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