The first-time Pro Bowl running back isn't interested in being anywhere but with the Cowboys in 2023, proving this to be true by signing his franchise tag while contract talks continue
FRISCO, TX — There will not be any ambiguity on if Tony Pollard will take the field for the Dallas Cowboys in 2023. The team applied the franchise tag to the Pro Bowl running back just ahead of the league's deadline in early March and, just ahead of the calendar turning to the month of April, Pollard has officially guaranteed he'll be in uniform in Dallas.
On Thursday, he officially signed the franchise tag, and that means he'll earn $10.1 million next season unless a multi-year deal is struck with the Cowboys prior to the NFL deadline of July 17.
It also promises to be Pollard's throne at the position, once fully recovered from a fractured leg suffered in January, with former two-time NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott having been released last week.
For the Cowboys, Pollard signing his tag removes any added concern at a position that is already currently in flux, having now added two-time Super Bowl champion Ronald Jones and re-signing Rico Dowdle to the mix on Tuesday to compete with Malik Davis.
The signing of the tag means Pollard is officially under contract now, and means they'll avoid a reminder of what occurred in 2015, when they applied the franchise tag to wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Bryan refused to sign his tag at the time and, absent a long-term deal as well, sat out of the entire offseason program until a deal was finally struck on July 15 — the NFL deadline that summer — agreeing to a five-year, $70 million contract in what was essentially a buzzerbeater for the two sides.
Much like the franchise tags applied to DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott and, more recently, Dalton Schultz, the team will see Pollard make no waves as negotiations continue with the goal of keeping him with the Cowboys for the foreseeable future.
There was famously a thought that Lawrence would refuse to sign his second franchise tag in 2019, before the Pro Bowl pass rusher publicly declared there was no way he'd wave off guaranteed money, then going on to sign a five-year, $105 million deal a few months later.
Considering owner and general manager Jerry Jones has stated the Cowboys have “big plans” for Pollard, the first order of business was to make sure he put pen to paper on his tag before, hopefully, putting pen to paper on a more meaningful contract this summer.