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Tony Pollard’s Expiring Contract a Focal Point for 2022 Cowboys

Despite being just a 4th-round pick, is now easily the best player from the Cowboys' 2019 draft class. With that group's rookie contracts all expiring after this season, Pollard's impending will be a focal point throughout 2022.

With the 2019 1st-round pick going to the Raiders for , the next two picks were DT and G . As things currently stand, Hill might not even make the roster and McGovern will likely be a backup only in their fourth seasons. is the only other player from the Day 3 picks still with the team.

Pollard, on the other hand, is coming off a breakout season for Dallas. He topped the 1,000-yard mark in combined offensive yardage and posted a 28.8 average on kickoff returns, including his first touchdown. By the end of 2021, many were even declaring Tony the Cowboys' best RB over .

We've since learned that Zeke was playing through a partially torn knee ligament last year. While Pollard certainly made the most of his opportunities, Elliott will remain the starter and likely workhorse in Dallas' . The team appears committed to their superstar.

Prepare yourself now; every week could be a referendum on who should be the Cowboys' top back. Between complaints about Zeke being overpayed and fear that Pollard could be lost in the 2023 , it will naturally be a constant conversation even if both players are performing well.

Next year presents a chance for Dallas to get some relief by moving on from Elliott. Even if Zeke has one of his best seasons in 2022 there will still be some who want the Cowboys to shed that contract and reallocate funds to other positions. The notion that running backs aren't worth heavy financial investment is on the rise.

Tony Pollard
Cowboys RB Tony Pollard

Unfortunately, that philosophy would not lend itself to retaining Tony Pollard as a . While he might not command the same massive contract that Elliott got a few years ago, Pollard should still be an attractive starting option for someone. He'll turn 26 next April and, barring a change in 2022, hasn't had issues thus far in his career.

That said, after Leonard Fournette only got $7 million per season in his new deal with Tampa Bay, the market for running backs appears to be shifting. The perception that teams like Dallas and Carolina have suffered under the megadeals signed by Zeke and may be perpetuating the rising trend in RB devaluation.

One potential scenario could be a midseason . If Elliott is looking good and the Cowboys like what they have in or other backups, they might be tempted to move Pollard for guaranteed draft pick compensation rather than wait to see what the compensatory formula would offer.

Even then, though, Pollard's expiring contract would limit how much a team would be willing to give up for him unless there's a guaranteed extension as part of the deal.

Dallas will not be quick to break up their dynamic duo at running back. Pollard's versatility could be more valuable than ever in 2022 as the Cowboys deal with 's injury and the sweeping changes at receiver.

Since he flashed so much potential as a rookie, Tony Pollard has been a consistent hot topic the last three years. Now the threat of his departure, plus the angst over Ezekiel Elliott's performance and contract, will only intensify the conversation.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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If TP bolts after this year, things may get very iffy, with EE not looking that good after the “injury”. Can Dowdle or Hardy fill in the backup role hole? If not, they may be rolling the dice somewhat. I was hoping they drafted a RB on day three. We had 4 picks in the fifth rd and the RBs got a slow draft start, so there were good “prospects” still to be had.

That said, they do have two good RBs (assuming EE is healthy and/or doesn’t decline any farther) for at least this coming year, and they could always draft or pick up a FA RB for the 2023 year.


He has had injury issues. He battled plantar fasciitis last season and not just a strained one, but a full tear. Those foot problems were part of the excuse for not pulling Zeke off the field more often.

It’s also a tricky problem to get fully healed and something that tends to flare up unexpectedly, time and time again. Amari Cooper has also battled plantar fasciitis over multiple seasons. Jay Ratliff used to have recurring bouts with it over several seasons.

That being said, if he’s willing to sign for a reasonable deal, great. If not, find a replacement and move on.

Lawrence C. Baker

Man, get rid of Elliott as soon as possible! Pollard is the better overall back. True, he doesn’t pickup blitzes as well as Elliott does, but that’s about all he doesn’t do better. Elliott’s poor performance last season can be placed squarely on Jerry and Stephen Jones, as well as McCarthy and Kellen Moore. If he was hurt, why continue to trot him out onto the field? Just Stupid and inexcusable!!!

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