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Mailbag: Was this always the plan with Pollard?


Are you surprised Tony Pollard wasn't signed to a long-term contract? Was this the plan all along? If so, why? – Martin Williams/St. Louis, MO

Nick Eatman: Not surprised he didn't get a deal. Not sure if it was the plan all along but I'm pretty sure the Cowboys were expecting this. The entire running back position – across the league – is in a weird spot right now because the value for backs is not at the same level as they view themselves right now. I think if Pollard were to sign a long-term deal that was less than his $10.1 million franchise tag value, it might affect potential deals for other backs like Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs. Obviously, Pollard has to worry about himself first, but I do think the running backs and the agents might be sticking together on this one. To make sense of this, the Cowboys probably wanted to do a long-term deal that averaged way less than $10 million per season. Does that work for Pollard? Obviously not. That's why it makes sense for him to just play this year out and hope for the best.

Kurt: I can't say I'm surprised. In truth, Pollard just had a lot working against him. Start with the fact that running backs today seemingly have a short shelf life, and because of that, teams are unwilling to spend big at the position. And, of course, Pollard is coming off a significant leg injury, leaving some doubt about whether or not he'll be the same explosive player. Then throw in the fact that the Cowboys have some huge contract negotiations coming up with the likes of Dak Prescott, Trevon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons that will take up a chunk of cap space and you can easily see how the cards certainly weren't stacked in Pollard's favor. Now, whether that was the plan all along is hard to say. If the Cowboys thought they could work out a team-friendly deal, I'm sure there would have been more interest. Instead, perhaps they see this as a one-year transition period. If Pollard proves himself, then he'll warrant greater consideration, and deservedly so. If things don't go as planned, then he's been a well-paid bridge to a younger crop of would-be running backs. The situation is not entirely fair, but such is life in the NFL.

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