The Dallas Cowboys’ running back room is one of the more intriguing NFL offseason storylines to follow in the coming days.
Tony Pollard, who led the Cowboys in rushing last season, needs a new contract. The cap-strapped Cowboys also need to make a decision on two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott, as cutting him could save the organization $4.86 million against the cap.
On Friday, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that Dallas will place the franchise tag on Pollard if they don’t reach an agreement on a long-term deal. Of course, the franchise tag doesn’t a hundred percent guarantee that Pollard stays. A trade is always possible, too.
Football Outsiders’ writers wrote bold offseason move ideas for all 32 NFL teams over at ESPN. Cale Clinton, covering the AFC East and NFC East teams, proposed the scenario of the Cowboys parting ways with both Pollard and Elliott:
“While Dallas does love keeping its home-grown products around, it might be best to let both running backs walk. Pollard was a top-five running back by receiving DVOA and receiving DYAR and finished better than Elliott as a rusher, but the price of the tandem has just gotten too expensive. There is little justification for keeping both with a massive running back free agency class on the horizon.
On top of that, this upcoming draft boasts one of the deepest and most talented running back classes in recent years. Currently sitting at 26th overall, Dallas would not have to move far to land Bijan Robinson, according to Todd McShay’s latest mock. Drafting running backs in the first round may draw some ire, and trading up for a first-round running back may be even more unorthodox, but it is a lesser evil than egregiously spending cap space on veteran running backs.”
Clinton also suggested that Dallas could target Jahmyr Gibbs of Alabama if they don’t want Robinson.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves staying loyal to veteran players, even if some of them appear to be near the end of their primes. So it wouldn’t at all be shocking if he decided to keep both Pollard and Elliott. Odds are high that he’ll retain at least one of the two, though.
If Elliott wants to stay in Dallas, he may have to take a considerable paycut. The running back position is devaluing more and more each year, and the cap-strapped Cowboys can only spend so much money at the position with our roster holes to fill out.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.