The conversation/debate that Dallas Cowboys fans have been hearing about time and time again for the last year is getting a new twist. While many have been arguing that RB2 Tony Pollard deserves to get more snaps than Ezekiel Elliott in 2022, a new report implies that Pollard may be getting more reps next season, but not as a running back. Instead of sticking with being the No. 2, he is exploring multiple options within the franchise.
As a reminder, Pollard had a breakout year in 2021. He had career bests in almost all statistical categories, including rushing yards (719), yards per carry (5.5), receptions (39), receiving yards (337), and yards per reception (8.6). He also outgained his RB1 7.05 to 5.15 in terms of yards per touch even though he got significantly fewer snaps. Despite the numbers, the Cowboys continued to give Elliott more snaps, even though it was later revealed that he was playing on a partially torn PCL.
Given that Elliott is allegedly healthy and ready to go this year, Pollard realizes he needs to do whatever he can to increase his market value ahead of a free agency year. After OTAs last week, the 25-year-old told the press that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get more time on the field. Here’s what he told reporters:
“I’m open to anything just being on the field, being able to make the most of my opportunities. If I have to line up in the slot a little more, whatever it takes, I’m ready to do it. The best is all you can do. You’re playing running back, receiver, kick returner, punt returner. It’s just that much harder to replace you.”
Cowboys RB Tony Pollard is prepared to take reps at wide receiver this year to increase the market value
The Cowboys financially can’t let Elliott go. And, given they were willing to give him the majority of the snaps last year while injured, they are likely to give him even more if he’s healthier this year. The RB2 also understands the value that Elliott brings. So in an effort to stand out and get more snaps, the idea of Pollard playing receiver became a reality.
There are several reasons this idea makes sense for Pollard. For starters, he’s entering a contract year, and if he can prove himself as both a running back and a wide receiver (like Deebo Samuel), his price tag will skyrocket in 2023.
Additionally, the Cowboys do need help in the receiver room. The team parted ways with both Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson. Michael Gallup is expected to be out for at least one game at the top of the year. Jalen Tolbert and James Washington have had some minor injury concerns in the offseason. The WR corps could certainly use some extra hands, at least at the start of the season. This would also, in theory, give Kellen Moore more versatility to add to his playbook.
Plus, Pollard isn’t just blindly asking to play receiver. He had several receiving yards as a pro last year and was a hybrid player in his college years at Memphis as well. He is comfortable in the slot and has played there before.
To push his market value even further, Pollard is focusing on a third element of the game as well: special teams. Last year, the 25-year-old was one of the best kickoff returners on the roster. He averaged 28.8 yards per kick return in 2021.
It will be incredibly interesting to see what Moore and the Cowboys do with Pollard’s talent in 2022. If he’s shown anything, it’s that he is tired of being on the sideline. With depth chart issues at both receiver and running back, Pollard has an opportunity to become a triple threat in the league, which would help him assert his dominance and prove his worth in the NFL.