It's no secret the Cowboys have plans on keeping Tony Pollard around for some time to come, and nothing about his injury or recovery has them spooked from that thought process
FRISCO, TX — Tony Pollard will be in a Dallas Cowboys uniform for the 2023 season, by hook or by crook, having officially received the team's franchise tag one day ahead of the NFL deadline that arrived on Tuesday, one that will pay him $10.1 million — if it sticks.
The organization hopes it will simply be a placeholder, allowing them until mid-July to reach an agreement on a long-term deal.
That's something both parties want to see happen, but clearly there is more to discuss. One of those talking points, however, doesn't appear to be the status of Pollard's leg, as owner and general manager Jerry Jones pointed out only three days prior to tagging the 25-year-old.
"He's an integral part of looking forward," said Jones from the 2023 NFL Combine. "I feel very confident that he can have the kind of recovery that won't minimize or potentially impact, negatively, how he plays."
Pollard suffered a broken fibula in the NFC Divisional Round against the San Francisco 49ers with under two minutes remaining in the first half on a tackle by cornerback Jimmie Ward, ending his postseason and creating immediate questions about the injury's potential impact on his free agency value.
It's a foregone conclusion Jones consulted his medical staff on the matter, one that has proven to arguably be the best in the league, and was given the thumbs up for Pollard's future.
The battle with the 49ers devolved into a devastating end to what was a career-best season for Pollard, one that included his first-ever nod as a Pro Bowler, but there are no long-term concerns within the Cowboys front office or medical staff; otherwise, logic dictates they would not have fully guaranteed him more than $10 million as a worst-case scenario.
Jones, like others in Dallas, can't shake what might've been if the Cowboys didn't lose their most destructive playmaker in the divisional round, particularly seeing as it was a tie game (6-6) when Pollard was carted to the locker room from the sideline.
"It seems like just a moment ago when I saw that tackle against San Francisco," Jones said. "I thought that was the turning point of the game for us. Not one play can make a game, but if missing a guy at a critical spot was gonna give you a picture of why you might want Tony Pollard — roll the clock back right there to see how things changed for us.
"As everybody always knows, you can't go to one play, but that was the turning point, in my mind."
It's impossible to disagree with that take, and with Pollard on schedule to return to form for next season, keeping him in the building instantly becomes the first wise move by the Cowboys front office to begin this year’s free agency spree.