The Dallas Cowboys have a number of difficult decisions to make this offseason in terms of the contractual side of the game, and one of them centers around free agent running back Tony Pollard. If you ask most fans they are leaning in one direction, but it is worth noting that throughout the 2022 season that Pollard was one of the more dynamic and dangerous running backs across the entire NFL. The thought was that in 2023, with Pollard having the lion’s share of the carries for the first time in his career, that we would see more of that. Unfortunately we did not.
A big reason, at least a perceived one, for Pollard’s dip in numbers seemed to be that he was coming off of the fractured fibula suffered in the final game of the 2022 season. Many Cowboys fans wondered whether Pollard ever truly returned to full health this past season.
We had Pollard on my radio show while on Radio Row in Las Vegas at the Super Bowl thanks to our friends at Sleep Number, and I asked him if he ever did feel back to full strength. He said yes, when the Cowboys played the Carolina Panthers.
Sleep Number is the Official Sleep + Wellness Partner of the NFL, and currently 80% of active roster players benefit from the improved sleep performance on Sleep Number smart beds. Sleep Number is also an Official Partner of Crucial Catch. Right now, buy one Sleep Number pillow, get one free – plus Sleep Number will donate another pillow to the American Cancer Society.
Pollard averaged 5.1 yards per carry against Carolina and even hit 6.1 one week later against the Washington Commanders on Thanksgiving Day. The latter was a season high for him.
While he did not reach five yards per carry across the rest of the season, the beginning stretch after Thanksgiving coincided with the defense really taking a step back as the first game was the home win against the Seattle Seahawks. The run game was less able to be used by the team, so even with a healthy Pollard, they were having to keep themselves in games as a result of allowing so much on the other side of things.
The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Tony Pollard last season for a value of about $11M. It makes sense that they would like to pay less than that to have him back in 2024, but obviously these situations change all of the time. Time will tell whether or not Pollard does in fact return.
Our thanks again to Sleep Number for making the interview possible.