How Tony Pollard’s injury affects his free-agency status

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Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl running back Tony Pollard fractured his left fibula during the team’s 19-12 divisional-round loss to San Francisco on Sunday, per ESPN’s Todd Archer. The timing could hardly have been worse. Dallas sorely missed its breakout back, who is a pending free agent with an injury designation.

Although the projected timeline provides enough time for Pollard to recover before training camp, the injury limits his leverage.

Pollard broke out this season, leading the Cowboys in rushing with 1,007 yards. Per Pro Football Reference, he was seventh in the NFL in yards per carry. 

A team looking for a dynamic offensive playmaker certainly will be willing to sign Pollard, 25, to a multi-year contract. However, the injury might lead to some teams questioning his durability, and they may target other RBs instead.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Dallas wants to keep Pollard and is considering using the franchise tag on him. If the Cowboys use the franchise tag, a one-year contract, Pollard will earn $10.1 million in 2023. According to Spotrac, this is less than its projected market value for Pollard, which is a three-year deal worth $27 million. 

Despite the shorter contract, it’s Pollard’s best option because Dallas wants him, and he can keep flourishing in its system. If he capitalizes, having another career year and staying healthy throughout the season could lead to an even bigger payday in 2024.     

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