The NFL offseason is in full swing with the first week of 2023 free agency finished and the NFL Draft just around the corner, the Dallas Cowboys front office is back to work building the roster for next season and beyond.
The Cowboys have prioritized keeping homegrown talent, resigning several players already, striking trades for Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks, making their first external signings, and announcing contract restructures to others that give fans a strong indication of whom they plan to extend in the future.
Despite the long-standing tendency to reward their own by re-upping player’s contracts, there are also players the Cowboys should hold off on giving contract extensions and instead began planning for their potential departure.
3 players the Cowboys shouldn’t give a contract extension
3. Tony Pollard
With Ezekiel Elliott’s recent release, the dangers of big running back contracts are fresh in every Cowboys fan’s mind. While many viewed giving Pollard the franchise tag as a necessary evil to ensure having one viable offensive weapon on the team other than CeeDee Lamb in 2023, that does not mean the Cowboys should pursue an extension past this season.
Although the broken leg he suffered during the 49ers playoff game makes his future contract projection more difficult, if Pollard returns to form next season he will be looking to maximize his second contract as a former fourth round pick.
The Cowboys should heed the lessons learned from the Elliott contract and look for young replacements through the NFL Draft or complementary pieces through free agency. They’ve already done that in a sense with Ronald Jones, though he’ll likely battle for the third spot on the depth chart.
The current free agency class showed that functional starters can be had at a reasonable price and year after year starter level running backs are found on days two and three of the NFL Draft. Expect the Jones’ and Will McClay to add another piece to the RB room to compete with Malik Davis and fight for starting snaps in 2024.