NFL Free Agency Primer: Tony Pollard

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. In the coming months, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Tony Pollard

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard put to bed all questions of who the best runner on his team was last season. The fourth-year back thoroughly outplayed teammate and former superstar Ezekiel Elliot, rushing for 1007 yards at an efficient 5.2 yards per carry and nabbing 39 receptions for 371 yards at 6.7 yards per target. He was also a huge part of the Cowboys top-ranked scoring offense in 2021: his 1056 yards from scrimmage were third on the team, behind Elliot and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

The Fit:

Pollard is an explosive back whose timeshare in Dallas has kept him relatively hale and healthy. He has appeared in 62 of a possible 66 games since coming into the league as a fourth-round pick and has a well-rounded skillset for modern NFL offenses. He doesn't have the frame or the resume to carry a massive load in a punishing, run-heavy attack, but he can complement an effective passing game and provide consistent, quality touches.

The Cost:

The Cowboys reportedly expect to franchise tag Pollard, which would cost them approximately $10.091 million. The Cowboys have demonstrated an affinity for running backs all the way back to the glory days of Emmitt Smith, so they may be willing to offer Pollard deals richer than other teams. He could approach the $12+ million per year deals of the Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Mixon and the Cleveland Browns' Nick Chubb. Given what he's shown in the league so far, anything more would be an overpay. 

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