Could the Commanders raid NFC East rival for help in free agency?

The running back was named as an ideal fit for the Commanders.

Tony Pollard
Tony Pollard / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Could the Washington Commanders raid an NFC East rival for running back help during what should be a fascinating free-agency period?

Finding more dynamic weapons on the offensive side would be welcome this offseason. The Washington Commanders must solve their quarterback conundrum as a matter of urgency. After that, it's about providing the chosen signal-caller with consistent protection and playmakers who can make things happen.

Kliff Kingsbury's presence as offensive coordinator adds another interesting element to this equation. The play-caller wouldn't have agreed to his last-minute U-turn without assurances he'll have a leading say in personnel. The Commanders also have an embarrassment of riches to upgrade almost every position group under new general manager Adam Peters.

Although the Commanders have two promising running backs - Brian Robinson Jr. and Chris Rodriguez Jr. - they could be on the lookout for another option. This need becomes greater if impending free agent Antonio Gibson moves on.

Commanders linked with Cowboys RB Tony Pollard

ESPN's Matt Bowen had one player in mind to bolster Washington's backfield options. Someone who has plenty of experience within the NFC East and has worked previously with new head coach Dan Quinn. This, of course, is Tony Pollard.

"With Antonio Gibson heading to free agency, the Commanders could target someone like Pollard on a short-term deal to create a backfield rotation with Brian Robinson Jr. I like that duo. Washington could then reduce the workload for Pollard while maximizing his dual-threat ability. In five pro seasons with the Cowboys, Pollard had 179 receptions, and in 2023 he rushed for over 1,000 yards for a second straight season."

Matt Bowen, ESPN

Pollard played last season on the franchise tag. He managed to go over 1,000 rushing yards and gained 1,316 in total. Unfortunately for the former Memphis standout, it was seen as a down year overall.

He was deserving of lead-back responsibilities last season after flashing significantly as a complimentary piece alongside Ezekiel Elliott. Perhaps this is a role he's best suited to moving forward - especially if he ends up in Washington.

There is one major problem with this. Paying running backs is not the done thing around the NFL these days. Only the truly elite get rewarded handsomely. Pollard wouldn't be placed in that category despite some obvious upside attached. There's also the financial demands his representatives could want as a potential stumbling block.

Spotrac projects Pollard to make around $6.5 million per season. Considering Robinson's emergence and Rodriguez's flashes of promise, that's a little on the expensive side. Nothing can be ruled out entirely, but there are too many holes to fill this offseason to justify giving him that sort of cash when a No. 1 is already in place.

The more likely scenario revolves around the Commanders seeking another explosive running back - one that could greatly assist in the passing game - via the 2024 NFL Draft if Gibson walks. This is the most cost-effective way to ensure Washington has a three-headed monster in the backfield to help their new quarterback.

If the Commanders can get Pollard for a bargain price later in free agency, it's a different story. But this would be a shocking turn of events when one factors everything into the equation.

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