Report: Absent deal, franchise tag coming for Tony Pollard

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The good news for Cowboys running back Tony Pollard is that the broken ankle he suffered in the postseason won’t keep the team from applying the franchise tag to him. The bad news is the same.

Pollard’s shot at the open market will be blocked by application of the tag, absent a long-term deal before Tuesday’s deadline for using it. That’s the word from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

It means Pollard will be eligible for a one-year contract in the amount of $10.09 million. The amount becomes fully guaranteed if/when Pollard accepts it. It can be rescinded before he does.

At this point, there’s no reason for Pollard to not force application of the tag. Pollard and the Cowboys would have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal, after the tag is applied.

In many cases, a long-term deal when the tag is an issue becomes calculated by guaranteeing two years of the tag and adding a few years on the back end. For Pollard, that would be $22.2 million fully guaranteed at signing.

But that’s only $11.1 million per year, which would put Pollard toward the bottom of the top 10 at the position.

The biggest problem for Pollard and other franchise-tagged running backs comes from the fact that the Collective Bargaining Agreement gives the team the ability to squat on the player for another year, adding to the wear and tear he’ll experience before ever hitting the open market. And it would be easy for the Cowboys to tag Pollard a second time, pushing his shot at free agency back until 2025, when he’d have six years of NFL serve.

It’s never good for a player to be franchise tagged. It’s even worse for a running back, who needs to get paid fair value earlier than later — or he may never get paid fair value, at all.

13 responses to “Report: Absent deal, franchise tag coming for Tony Pollard

  1. Bad for running backs to be sure because of the extra year’s wear in an already short career, but I wouldn’t say “it’s never good for a player to be franchise tagged”. It seemed to work out ok for QB Cousins.

  2. Pollard is going to go from $500,000 last season to $10 million in 2023. The problem is Elliott is due $10.9MM base salary with a cap hit of $16.72MM.

  3. If they tag him, Pollard needs to sign the tender, “pull a hamstring” during training camp, and sit out the year with paychecks coming courtesy of the chasing Jones’s.

  4. At some point, the league will realize the productivity period of a running QB isn’t far off from that of a HB. Maybe the Ravens have already realized this.

  5. Cowboys in RB cap hell, not to mention a gazillion other FAs like LVE not signed. Dak contract an albatross – will be behind Eagles for yrs.

  6. Not sure how the Cowboys manage their Cap Space as they are over right now & using the tag would instantly add Pollard’s value to the 23 Cap numbers.

    Pollard will be fine. If franchised, he will share duties with Elliot. The wear & tear is real, but keep in mind he won’t be the bell cow. He is much too valuable to let go in the FA marketplace.

  7. Damn they didn’t learn and thing with Zeke. You don’t pay running backs. Should have kept Cooper.

  8. How many bad RB contracts do we need to see before accepting reality? Pollard should take what he can get. He was once the guy waiting in the wings behind Zeke..4 years ago. Zeke is washed up and has been next to worthless since signing his big deal. Dallas should let them both go. RBs in today’s NFL have zero value and that’s a fact. Henry is a stud and his team has won exactly what? The next wave of successful GMs will not waste their time and money on RBs. We’ve already seen this with Phili. They drafted Hurts with Wentz on the roster. You either have a stud QB or you’re wishing you were in the SB. Fact!

  9. You can’t win with two high priced RBs. You have to choose one and get rid of the other.

  10. The NFLPA was taken to the cleaners in the most recent CBA.

    A 17th game, Franchise Tag, Goodell is “judge, jury and executioner”, 10 games for marijuana after a second positive test and the list goes on.

    What did the NFLPA get in return? Five less padded practices.

  11. You think Zeke feels at least a little bit embarrassed that another RB took over his spot and is now important enough to get the tag? He was considered one of the best backs in the league a few short years ago. Now he’s an overpaid backup. It has to hurt the pride and ego just a tad.

  12. “Never good”? Nonsense. It’s a mechanism, that at a minimum automatically accelerates a player’s income. That’s good. It may not always be the best for the player but it’s far from “never good”.

  13. I think they get a deal done. Whatever you think about Jerry Jones, he seems to genuinely care about his players and seeks to do right by them. The whole world knew the Zeke deal was a bad one. But Jerry felt morally obliged to take care of him. I admire him for it.

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