ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 24: Tony Pollard #20 and Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys stand on the field during the game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
The Cowboys are rumored to be using the franchise tag on Tony Pollard this offseason but that could be bad news for Ezekiel Elliott’s future in Dallas.
It’s most definitely a turning point for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2023 offseason, particularly with their running back room. It’s been veteran Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard manning the backfield for several years now, but with the former fading in effectiveness and the latter set to become a free agent, it’s decision time.
As it turns out, though, the Cowboys might subtly be readying to start the future of the running back position in Dallas this offseason.
Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported on Tuesday that Dallas is planning to place the franchise tag on Pollard this offseason before he hits free agency.
For a player who’s been one of the most efficient backs in the league, it makes sense that the Cowboys don’t want to lose him. However, it’s the cap implications of that move that could spell a future that’s not in Dallas for Ezekiel Elliott.
Cowboys rumors: Tony Pollard getting franchise tag might push Ezekiel Elliott out
On the franchise tag, Pollard would be getting a projected $10.09 million next season and counting against the cap. If Dallas were to keep Elliott on the roster, even with a maximum restructuring of his deal, would still count just shy of $10 million against the cap himself.
Paying your running back room a combined $20 million for a single season when it is the year 2023 is not a sustainable model in the NFL. Even Jerry Jones and his running back-centric philosophies has to know that’s the truth.
Subsequently, it would be in the cards for the Cowboys to then designate Elliott as a post-June 1 cut (or a potential trade candidate) in order to save $10.9 million against the cap as opposed to the roughly $4 million or so they’d save if he were a pre-June 1 cut or trade.
Financially for a team that has holes on defense and needs at wide receiver and elsewhere as well, it simply doesn’t make sense to have both Pollard and Zeke making this amount of money against the cap. So if the plan is to make sure Pollard doesn’t leave by slapping him with the franchise tag, then it would be the most financially responsible decision for the Cowboys future.
Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee Volunteers (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)
NFL mock draft: Cowboys 7-round 2023 projection to leap over playoff hump
Joey Porter Jr., Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
The Dallas Cowboys desperately need to get the playoff monkey off their back. With the haul in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they might be able to do it.
When it’s been 26 years since a team that has had the collection of talent that the Dallas Cowboys have compiled has made it to the NFC Championship Game, things start to get a little desperate. And after a disastrous loss for Dallas in the Divisional Round of the 2023 playoffs, that remains true.
Now it’s an offseason with tough decisions ahead. Sure, Dak Prescott is back, but the fanbase has a sour taste left in their mouths after the postseason loss. That then brings up plenty of questions.
What to do with Ezekiel Elliott’s contract? Can the team re-sign Tony Pollard? Does the club cut Tyron Smith? Most importantly, though, the Cowboys need to figure out how they can get over the hump in the playoffs. And the 2023 NFL Draft could have a big role in that plight.
What holes does Dallas need to fill and how can they address them in the draft, though? We’re running through a full Cowboys NFL mock draft for 2023 that goes through all seven rounds to try and get this team back to its former glory and, perhaps, back to a Super Bowl.