New Report Reveals What Led to Tony Pollard's Cowboys Exit

On Monday, it was reported that RB Tony Pollard is expected to sign with the Titans. So, why did he choose Tennessee over Dallas? It turns out that the Cowboys might not have offered enough money.
Money played a factor in RB Tony Pollard choosing the Titans over the Cowboys.
Money played a factor in RB Tony Pollard choosing the Titans over the Cowboys. / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Dallas Cowboys fans were given surprising news on Monday when NFL insider Aaron Wilson reported that free agent running back Tony Pollard is signing with the Tennessee Titans. The 26-year-old RB became an unrestricted free agent after spending five seasons with the Cowboys.

Even though the writing appeared to be on the wall, some fans were still caught off guard by the move. Fortunately, The Athletic's Dianna Russini has helped shed some light on why Pollard chose Tennessee over the Lone Star State.

Cowboys Rumors: Why Tony Pollard Signed with Titans

Sources close to Russini told the reporter that Pollard chose the Titans over the Cowboys due to financial reasons. It's believed that Tennessee offered a "bigger payday" while teams like the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings were allegedly in the mix, too.

Considering how Pollard ended up signing a three-year, $36 million, it isn't too surprising that money made a difference. Running backs have a relatively short shelf life, meaning that Pollard likely had his sights set on the biggest contract possible.

Spotrac lists the Titans as having a whopping $80.3 million to spend this offseason whereas the Cowboys were just over $8.8 million before the deal.

The Titans essentially being Pollard's hometown team also likely plays a factor. He was bored and raised in Memphis before spending his four-year college tenure with the Tigers. Joining Tennessee offers him the chance to play in front of friends and family, which isn't as easy to do in Dallas.

Still, the Cowboys fanbase will likely feel mixed about this situation. On one hand, Pollard was disappointing as the lead RB in 2023. Despite seeing 59 more carries in 2023 than he did the previous season, Pollard finished with two fewer rushing yards and three fewer touchdowns, making it clear that Dallas needed to upgrade the backfield.

On the other hand, the Cowboys' failing to give Pollard are more competitive offer is further proof that they actually aren't going "all in" this offseason. If Jerry Jones isn't willing to fork out that much scratch to keep Pollard, it's easy to question if he'll be willing to shell out the cash to the likes of Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley.

If the Cowboys do wind up signing Henry or Barkley, all will be forgiven. But if Dallas enters the 2024 campaign without a stud RB leading the backfield, most fans will likely wish that they had just kept Pollard instead.

The NFL free agency period officially opens on Wednesday, March 13 at 4 p.m. ET.

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