FRISCO – The Dallas Cowboys are locked in to Tony Pollard being the lead back in 2023, and we have suggested that maybe they leave him on his one-year franchise tag deal of $10 million because they may use this NFL Draft to find a cheap heir.
But ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has a different idea.
A very different idea.
According to Barnwell, star play-maker Derrick Henry is potential cut candidate following the draft and he is envisioning the perennial NFL rushing champ candidate – who has topped 1,500 yards in three of the last four seasons – falling into Dallas’ lap.
It’s the sexiest possible idea. But what is it based upon?
We do know the Titans might be in strip-down mode and are willing to listen to trade offers. But in Barnwell’s scenario, they find no buyers (in part due to Henry being 29 and costing $10 million for the year) and so they bid him farewell.
And what about from the Dallas perspective?
*Barnwell asserts that he believes the Cowboys would “prefer” to add another veteran rather than relying on a rookie running back. That is not accurate. The have added vet Ronald Jones, but are very much interested in using a premium pick in the draft on a back – and again, one who might eventually replace Pollard.
We can promise you: The Cowboys would rather have Texas’ Bijan Robinson than have Derrick Henry.
*Barnwell asserts that Dallas is concerned about Pollard’s rehab from his leg and ankle injury. That is also not accurate; the Cowboys medical people are upbeat about the likelihood of Pollard being available to start the 2023 season.
*Barnwell does not seem concerned about Dallas’ budget here. But Spotrac projects Henry’s market value to be a two-year, $30 million deal; that may be way off, but even at a fraction of that, the Cowboys aren’t going to employ a pair of $10 million running backs.
*Barnwell takes one more stab at the Dallas running backs room, saying he’s not convinced that Ezekiel Elliott, recently cut, is done with the Cowboys. But as we’ve reported: Never say never, but Dallas has moved on from Zeke, and the Cowboys’ suggestion that the “door is open” for his return is more a matter of respect than it is a matter of fact.
All in all, this is fun stuff. “America’s Team” and “King Henry,” right? And maybe that’s the tone – “fun stuff” that is intended in Barnwell’s piece.