With Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott missing the Week 15 win over the 49ers due to a calf injury and given that his replacement, Tony Pollard, played very well, chatter regarding Pollard’s ascension made its way into Elliott’s midweek press conference.
On Wednesday, Elliott initially was asked to respond to those who believe Pollard should be the starter.
“I don’t really pay much attention to it,” Elliott told reporters. “I don’t really know what to say to it. Tony is a great back though. Tony is a great back. As you saw this weekend he’s special, can do some great things and I mean shoot, he’s a good back.”
Pollard had 69 yards rushing, another 63 yards receiving, and two total touchdowns in the victory over San Francisco.
Asked whether Elliott attributes the push for Pollard to the short-term nature of the football business, Elliott said this: “I mean at the end of the day, those aren’t the people signing my checks. Those aren’t the cats that are making the final decision. So I think there’s a reason they’re not the ones making those decisions. So I mean I don’t think it really matters. It doesn’t really hold much with me what people outside the building are saying. All that matters to us is the people inside this building.”
The people inside the building already have made that decision, more than a year ago. Elliott’s contract already is fully guaranteed through 2021 and, as of March 2021, it will be fully guaranteed through 2022. No matter how well Pollard plays or how poorly Elliott may perform, Elliott most likely will be on the roster for two more seasons.
Pollard’s rookie contract lasts two more seasons, too. It will be interesting to see whether the Cowboys will pay Pollard upon moving on from Elliott, or whether they’ll simply look to the draft for their next workhorse tailback, at a bargain-basement contract for which, in the early years of the player’s career, the team realizes a huge windfall.