We're old enough to remember when Dallas Cowboys fans clamored for the release of Ezekiel Elliott so that Tony Pollard could finally be unleashed. Make no mistake: we were part of that calvary, but the divorce and Pollard's subsequent promotion hasn't aged as many thought it would.
While the Cowboys certainly don't miss Elliott's contract, they could have used his between-the-tackles expertise in the red zone.
Over the last month, Pollard has looked like the star back we saw last season. It stands to reason he's now fully recovered from ankle surgery and a fractured fibula suffered in the Cowboys' Divisional Round loss to the 49ers in January.
Injury notwithstanding, 2023's been a disappointment for Pollard and it's hard to envision him returning to the Cowboys. Maybe he's brought back on a reasonable one-year deal, but it might be time to bring in a new face.
Derrick Henry has long been viewed as a possible Cowboys target. That's suddenly feasible after Henry bid farewell to Titans fans after Sunday's regular season finale.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should take note of Derrick Henry's Titans farewell
Sunday might have been Henry's final game in Tennessee. His contract is set to expire after the season and the Titans could be headed for a rebuild. Even head coach Mike Vrabel is mulling his future with the franchise and Tennessee seemingly has Henry's successor lined up in 2023 third-round pick Tyjae Spears.
Assuming Henry reaches free agency, the Cowboys should absolutely think about signing him. Though Henry is still a top-tier back, the position's market has capsized in recent years. At 30 years old and with over 2,000 (!) carries on his tires, Henry could be had at an affordable price.
The Cowboys learned the hard away with Elliott that signing a RB isn't conducive to proper roster building, but Henry is an outlier in that regard.
Despite running behind arguably the league's most talent-deprived offensive line, he still managed 1,167 yards (second-most in the NFL) and 12 touchdowns on 4.2 yards per carry this season. He totaled the most yards after contract of any RB, the fourth-most missed tackles forced and his 23 explosive runs ranked in the top 15 at the position, per Pro Football Focus.
All behind a lowly offensive line and with terrible quarterback play.
In Dallas, he'd have the support of a robust line and prolific offense. He wouldn't be run into the ground with some 300 carries and he'd have the chance to compete for a Super Bowl all while being under the Cowboys spotlight, which would further elevate his brand as the best rusher of his generation.
Henry's price tag will be the ultimate decider, but he seems to have made his mind up about departing Tennessee. With Pollard's Cowboys future also in doubt, Jerry Jones better have taken note of Henry's swan song.