Buccaneers Projected to Plunder Cowboys’ $6.5 Million Star

The Dallas Cowboys backfield could look significantly different next season.

Tony Pollard, Cowboys

Dallas believed that Tony Pollard could seamlessly replace the production lost when Ezekiel Elliott departed in March 2023, but that never quite materialized.

Now set to become an unrestricted free agent, Pollard is projected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin.

“Statistically,” Cody Benjamin wrote in a January 30 story predicting the landing spots of free agent veterans on playoff teams. “Pollard remained a passable starter for Dallas in 2023, but his efficiency has decreased in recent years. Remarkably, he’s still just 26. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Cowboys finally pivot to a cheaper rotation.”

Pollard signed a signed a $10.1 million franchise tag heading into 2023 and is projected by Spotrac to land a two-year, $13 million deal in the offseason, for an average annual salary of $6.5 million.

Despite rushing for 1,005 yards and 6 touchdowns (after a 1,007-yard season in 2022 splitting carries with Elliott), the Cowboys still finished only 15th in rushing yards per game, and at times the offense looked one dimensional with quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game having to shoulder a significant portion of the load.

Pollard finished the season averaging 4.0 yards per carry, after surpassing 5 yards per attempt each of the past two seasons. But, despite a slight step backwards in 2023, he could prove to be a welcomed addition to the Buccaneers’ offense.

How Tony Pollard Would Fit Buccaneers Offense

Tampa Bay took the Detroit Lions to the brink in the NFC divisional round, and could be looking to bolster the backfield this offseason.

Rachaad White broke out in his second NFL season, averaging 3.6 yards per carry, while rushing for 990 yards and six touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers also saw contributions from veteran Chase Edmonds, and rookie Sean Tucker adding 23 rushing yards.

Running backs have never been more affordable than they are, after the market at the position cratered last offseason. This could wind up benefiting the Buccaneers, if Pollard would be on their radar as a top-of-the-rotation running back.

Adding Pollard alongside White would create a potentially potent running back duo, similarly to when Pollard and Elliott shared a backfield with the Cowboys.

Why Cowboys Might Move on From Tony Pollard

There could be several reasons that Pollard is playing elsewhere in 2024.

Not the least of which being the dire salary cap situation that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys find themselves in ahead of the 2024 offseason. The Cowboys are currently projected to be $14.29 million over the cap.

The Cowboys are likely to sign Prescott to a new contract extension this offseason, which could create some spending flexibility, but it could prove difficult for Dallas to be big players when free agency gets underway.

Likewise, given that the Cowboys have invested significant resources on a talented defense, committed $14 million to wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, it might not be prudent to spend top dollar at the running back position.

If the Cowboys allow Pollard to walk via free agency, the Cowboys could target selecting a running back high in April’s NFL draft, or piece a backfield together with bargain free agents.

Related Posts

Mike McCarthy discusses what he expects from Ezekiel Elliott

UDFA QB John Rhys Plumlee Reveals Why He Chose Steelers

With John Rhys Plumlee seeing action at wide receiver at UCF, there was speculation that he could play wide receiver in the NFL, but he put that…

Zach Frazier explains wearing No. 54 with Pittsburgh Steelers

Zach Frazier can’t help his toughness. It’s embedded in his soul. The Steelers rookie loved Pittsburgh’s physical style of play when he was growing up in West Virginia….

Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell Strikes Down Scrutiny Facing Rookie J.J. McCarthy

Thіѕ ѕtаɡe of the NFL offѕeаѕon іѕ fіlled wіth hіɡhlіɡhtѕ аnd lowlіɡhtѕ of pаdleѕѕ prаctіceѕ — whіch Mіnneѕotа Vіkіnɡѕ coаch Kevіn O’Connell аrɡued to not reаd too…

Justin Simmons has 1 classy request to fans about Broncos rookie

The Denver Broncoѕ hаve ɡotten themѕelveѕ іnto а trіcky cаp ѕіtuаtіon. Denver trаded ѕіɡnіfіcаnt аѕѕetѕ for QB Ruѕѕell Wіlѕon from the Seаttle Seаhаwkѕ two yeаrѕ аɡo. The…

Coveted Free Agent Receiver Turned Down Kansas City Chiefs

Zаy Joneѕ ѕіɡned wіth the Arіzonа Cаrdіnаlѕ on Frіdаy, but before joіnіnɡ the Cаrdіnаlѕ on а one-yeаr deаl, he hаd drаwn іntereѕt from the Kаnѕаѕ Cіty Chіefѕ….