Dallas Cowboys RB Tony Pollard secures $10.1 million in 2023 by signing franchise tag

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard signed the franchise tag on Thursday, guaranteeing him $10.1 million in 2023.

The Cowboys and Pollard have until July 17 to negotiate a long-term deal or he will have to play the season on the tag.

The Cowboys placed the tag on Pollard just days before releasing two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott.

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard signed the franchise tag on Thursday, guaranteeing him $10.1 million in 2023. AP

Pollard is coming off a career-year in 2022. He amassed 1,007 rushing yards and 371 receiving yards with 12 combined touchdowns, while surpassing Elliott as the team’s primary runner and leading rusher and making the Pro Bowl for the first time.

Pollard suffered a fractured left fibula and a high-ankle sprain in the NFC Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Cowboys have no long-term concerns about the injury.

Pollard underwent tightrope surgery for the high-ankle sprain and believe the fracture will heal on its own.

Owner Jerry Jones and vice president Stephen Jones said at last month at the NFL Scouting Combine that they expect Pollard to be fully healed in time for training camp.

“He’s an integral part of looking forward,” said Jerry Jones from the 2023 NFL Combine. “I feel very confident that he can have the kind of recovery that won’t minimize or potentially impact, negatively, how he plays.”

Pollard joined the Cowboys as a fourth-round pick in 2019. In 62 games with six starts, Pollard has rushed for 2,616 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He’s also caught 121 passes for 1,008 yards with five touchdowns.

He made $965,000 in 2022 in the final season of a four-year rookie deal.

Pollard entered the off season hoping the take advantage of his career year as a free agent, either with a long-term deal with the Cowboys or another.

After being unable to come to terms, the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Pollard to secure his services.

He signed the franchise tag because of the depressed market for running backs in free agency.

Top free agent running backs Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley have also been franchise tagged by the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants Giants, respectively.

Miles Sanders parlayed a Pro Bowl season with the Philadelphia Eagles into a modest 4-year, $25.4 million contract with the Carolina Panthers. The deal has an average annual salary of $6,350,000. In 2023, Sanders will earn a base salary of $1.08 million and a signing bonus of $5.9 million.

Pollard has a better deal on the franchise tag and could return to a hopefully improved market in 2024.

The Cowboys also signed defensive end Takk McKinley and long snapper Trent Sieg to one-year deals.

This story was originally published March 23, 2023, 11:09 AM.

Profile Image of Clarence E. Hill Jr.

Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.

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