Emmitt Smith: Cowboys need to find a way to keep Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott

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Tony Pollard is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Ezekiel Elliott is scheduled to count $16.72 million against the Cowboys’ salary cap. Rico Dowdle is scheduled to become a restricted free agent.

Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith has praise for Malik Davis, who had 38 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown in his rookie season. For now, though, Davis is the only certainty for the Cowboys at the position for 2023.

Smith wants the Cowboys to use the franchise tag on Pollard while attempting to sign him to a long-term deal and to restructure Elliott’s contract to keep him as a backup.

“I’m keeping both,” Smith told PFT, while making the rounds on radio row promoting Bounty paper towels as his “wing man.” “I may franchise tag Pollard and I may go for a contract restructure with Zeke. But I’m keeping both, and the reason why is because we’ve got to get Pollard back healthy, and we need Zeke, and we need Malik as well. We need that three-headed monster right now to rotate. Malik gives us a chance to get Pollard time to get back healthy again.”

Pollard, who made the Pro Bowl for the first time after a career-high 1,007 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, underwent surgery for a high ankle sprain after being injured in the divisional round loss to the 49ers.

The projected franchise tag for running backs is $10.09 million.

Elliott, who turns 28 this summer, is due to make a $10.9 million base salary in 2023. He has no guaranteed money left on his contract.

Smith also wants the Cowboys to get some help at receiver after trading Amari Cooper last offseason and failing to re-sign Cedrick Wilson. Noah Brown was the team’s second-leading wideout with 43 receptions for 555 yards and three touchdowns.

“I’ve got to get CeeDee Lamb some help. I’ve got to CeeDee Lamb some help,” Smith said twice for emphasis. “There were some other decisions that could have been made [last offseason] that would have given CeeDee Lamb the help he needed. I mean, losing Wilson? If you let Amari go, you’ve got to keep Cedrick Wilson. That’s how I see some of that. They have to get somebody to help support him, blow the top off defenses, so they cannot put Lamb in a box and have him try to make miraculous catches and expose him to injury.”

The Cowboys, like all teams, have some decisions to make and some work to do this offseason.

22 responses to “Emmitt Smith: Cowboys need to find a way to keep Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott

  1. Sorry Emmitt. It’s never been a RB league, and that certainly hasn’t changed, now. You never tie up that much money on a non-critical position like RB. The Cowboys won three super bowls because they had a HOF QB, a good defense, and a great offensive line. I could have led the league in rushing behind that line. Anyone could have. Emmitt was good, but let’s stay in the world of reality.

  2. There’s no ‘finding a way’. It’s a bad idea to spend that much money on the RB position. Dallas has some horrible contracts, Elliot should be cut.

  3. Zeke restructure for sure, and with the money saved give a big pay raise to Pollard for all he has done.

  4. Good thing he isn’t the GM. They should cut elliot and let pollard walk. They should have learned you don’t pay running backs.

  5. Stop paying Rbs so much money. Great idea let’s waste money on Zeke and waste our tag on pollard. Cut Zeke, sign pollard.

  6. Elliott is 28, and he looks & runs like he’s 38. Cowboys w/b nuts to even pay him $10 Mill. RBs are a dime a dozen. Next…

  7. They don’t need both. Elliott is done. That’s obvious. The Cowboys have other RB’s on their roster…. use them..

  8. Smith was a horrible commentator and would be an even worse GM! There’s no scenario in which they should bring back the old, overrated and declining Elliott, particularly when they have to constantly deal with his scumbag off the field issues! As a Washington fan, I hope they do, though! Also, no team uses the franchise tag on running backs! Sure, try to bring Pollard back but that would a tag would be a stupid move. Micah Parsons has the best GM advice that they should come after our Deron Payne. He correctly identified that they have great pass rushers but need tackles who can control the line of scrimmage. Smith was a great RB, but he should leave the GM advice to others!’

  9. Wrong emmitt, they don’t need to keep overpaid zeek. He’s a bum since he got paid. Jerry living like it’s the early 90’s.

  10. Emmett is speaking from a friends point of view. He likes these guys personally. It wouldn’t help the team. I think both need to walk and we use free agency and the draft to find some guys.

  11. Smith isn’t very bright. You don’t overpay 1 RB, let alone 2. If Dallas was smart they’d walk from both, or at least Elliott. That ship sailed.

  12. Zeke is done. Had some great early years but rarely breaks any long runs now. Wouldn’t pay him big money whatsoever.

  13. I say, draft a RB on Day 2, maybe even Day 1 if the right guy is there at #27. If Pollard were healthy, then definitely franchise and hopefully sign longer term. With the injury, though…. I don’t see it. Just compete in FA and see if you can keep him on a reasonable contract. And as for Zeke, he may be a team (and Jerry) favorite, but his production isn’t there — not for the money he’d accept, much less what he counts now. Time to get out.

  14. Elliott should be thrown out with the trash. Pollard has far more talent and output. Elliott is just a bad haircut exacerbated by equally puke-worthy facial hair.

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