FRISCO, Texas – This will be a busy offseason for Tony Pollard, even if he'll be off his feet for the first part of it.
Pollard is coming off surgery this week on his high-ankle sprain injury that he sustained in the Cowboys' playoff loss to the 49ers.
The veteran running back also had a broken fibula that will likely heal over the next 2-3 months.
As far as next season goes, Pollard should be ready by the start of training camp without any issues.
But the real question is, for what team?
Pollard will be an unrestricted free agent after completing his four-year contract. Heavy speculation for the last few months centers on the Cowboys giving Pollard the franchise tag, which would be a one-year guaranteed deal of about $10.1 million – the projected 2023 price for running backs.
That seemed to be the Cowboys' plan all along – before the injury. And while that might not have changed a bit, let's see if it changes anything from Pollard's side, perhaps more interested in a long-term deal.
Without a doubt, the two sides will be in plenty of discussions both about contracts and his injury rehab.
The NFL has designated a two-week period from Feb. 21 to March 7 for teams to decide whether to place the franchise tag on players.
If the Cowboys decide not to tag Pollard, and he does not have a new contract, he would be a free agent on March 15.
Pollard is coming off a Pro Bowl season that included career-highs in rushing yards with 1,007 and total touchdowns (12).
Pollard's 5.2 yard average per carry made him just the fourth running back in franchise history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season along with an average over 5.0 yards an attempt.
And then there's the Cowboys' dilemma with Ezekiel Elliott, whose cap number for 2023 is over $16 million. The team could save anywhere from $5-10 million off the cap if he is released this offseason. But Zeke has said he wants to stay with the Cowboys and reportedly has entertained the thought of a pay cut. Still, it'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys can keep both Zeke and Pollard for 2023, if that's even their desired plan.