The Cowboys are beginning to get their backfield is in order heading into 2023.
Dallas will place the franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard if the two sides cannot reach a long-term deal before the Tuesday deadline, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday, per sources.
The one-year tag will cost $10.091 million for next season. The Cowboys have until July 17 to reach an extension before the tag becomes Pollard's permanent price tag for the year.
Pollard, who is entering his age-26 season and recovering from a broken leg suffered in the Divisional Round, led the Cowboys in rushing yards last year with 1,007. He scored nine rushing touchdowns and added another 371 receiving yards and three scores on 39 receptions.
It was a breakout year for the fourth-year back, who had flashed electric potential spelling Ezekiel Elliott in seasons past but looked to be the far better back in 2023 on his way to his first Pro Bowl.
That much was clear when the two backs led Dallas' rushing attack together, with Pollard serving as the lightning (5.2 yards per carry) to Elliott's occasionally plodding thunder (3.8 yards per carry). But it was even more evident in the three games that the younger back started due to Elliott missing time.
As Dallas' RB1 in those three contests, Pollard had 48 carries for 337 yards and six touchdowns. He twice eclipsed 100 yards rushing, a feat Elliott hasn't accomplished since Week 5 of 2021.
All of which leads to Dallas' backfield conundrum. With Pollard's franchise tag and Elliott's $16.7 million cap number, the Cowboys are currently set to spend over $26 million on their top two RBs.
There will be shuffling ahead as the Cowboys brass juggle a hopeful Pollard extension with either cutting or restructuring Elliott.