The Cowboys have decisions to make. Free agency’s tampering period starts March 13 while the franchise tag deadline is a week away on March 7. Two names that are at the top of the list for Dallas are running back Tony Pollard and offensive tackle Terence Steele.
The pair were key players in 2022 but injuries led to a derailment of Dallas’ offense. Steele’s torn ACL came during the regular season, and although Tyron Smith filled in admirably in pass protection, the run game suffered. Pollard’s broken leg in the divisional round sucked the life out of the offense in a loss to the 49ers. Amid the questions about their status as Cowboys, The Athletic’s Jon Machota reported that Dallas expects the two pending free agents to be back for training camp.
This seems like a run-of-the-mill tweet but it could confirm that the Cowboys plan on retaining both in the next month.
The running back situation in Dallas is a complex one. Pollard’s broken leg and high ankle sprain present concerns on if he’ll return to form for 2023. The franchise tag presents the team an opportunity to sign Pollard for a prove-it year coming off injury while the team could also move on from Ezekiel Elliott in the offseason. While those two are household names, the Cowboys could look to the draft for a replacement or developmental back.
Steele’s situation is much more simple. As a third-year undrafted free agent, Steele is a restricted free agent and it makes things easy on Dallas. A possible tender pushes teams away from paying the Texas Tech product. It would likelycost Dallas just $4.3 million to keep him at a minimum, with a $6 million tender almost assuring his return. Based on Machota’s tweet, it seems the team is moving forward expecting both to suit up again in 2023.