Cowboys should pursue this buy-low trade target to replace Tony Pollard

Sep 17, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) runs the ball
Sep 17, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) runs the ball / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It's become apparent that the Dallas Cowboys never planned to shop at the top of the running back market in free agency. While stars like Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley always felt like a pipe dream, it seems even Tony Pollard was too expensive for the front office's liking.

A Pro Bowler in 2022, Pollard signed a three-year contract with the Titans. He returns home to Tennessee and got $10.49 million guaranteed to boot. The contract carries a max value of $21 million and has a potential out after 2025 that would make it a two-year, $14.5 million deal.

After losing Pollard, reports indicated the Cowboys were pondering on an Ezekiel Elliott reunion. Ultimately, though, Dallas re-signed Rico Dowdle to a one-year deal. That all but rules out Elliott returning after a one-year stint in New England.

While re-upping Dowdle is a clever move, it doesn't complete the backfield overhaul. They'll likely draft a running back next month, but would that even be enough? Luckily for Dallas, there's a buy-low trade target out there that would step in as the team's RB1.

Cowboys should trade for Dameon Pierce to replace Tony Pollard

A fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft, Dameon Pierce burst onto the scene as a rookie with 1,104 scrimmage yards (939 rushing) and five total touchdowns. His 84.8 rushing grade ranked sixth among qualified running backs, per Pro Football Focus. He also finished sixth in yards after contact per carry, fourth in missed tackles forced and 12th in explosive runs.

For reasons unknown, Pierce lost the starting job to Devin Singletary in the middle of last season under new offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik. He started just seven games and averaged 2.9 yards per carry in the Texans' new-look offense.

Even though Singletary left in free agency, Houston surprisingly traded for longtime Bengals starter Joe Mixon and subsequently gave him a three-year, $27 million extension with $13 million in guarantees. It's clear the Texans view Mixon as their workhorse back, which could push Pierce out of the picture.

Given that Mixon, a four-time 1,000-yard rusher, was acquired for a seventh-round pick, Pierce can absolutely be had for the same price. The Cowboys have an extra seventh-rounder this year from the Johnathan Hankins trade. Having picked up two compensatory picks, Dallas would still have six total picks in the upcoming draft if they parted with one of their sevenths.

Pierce's ferocious rushing style is exactly what the Cowboys need. While re-signing Dowdle was a savvy move, he's a mid-tier RB2. In a best-case scenario he'd be RB3. Ideally, Pierce and a potential 2024 draft pick would share the bulk of the carries and Dowdle, who signed for less than $2 million and has had trouble staying healthy in his young career, would give the team really strong RB3 depth.

Pierce's stock is down after a wonky 2023, but he's one year removed from taking the league by storm with a banner rookie season. He seemingly doesn't have a future in Houston after the Mixon trade and a move to Dallas wouldn't force him to uproot his family.

Trading for Pierce should absolutely be on the Cowboys radar.

More Cowboys coverage and analysis