Skip to main content Names Cowboys Most 'Underappreciated' Player

A Dallas Cowboys helmet sitting on the field.

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 05: A Dallas Cowboys helmet at AT&T Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It's hard to fly under the radar when playing for "America's Team." 

Dallas Cowboys stars often get primetime stages to impress the masses, but that doesn't mean they're all properly accredited for their contributions.'s Cynthia Frelund identified each team's most underappreciated player by creating a metric valuing their 2021 production and then considering their salary related to their position.

She concluded that the Cowboys' most unheralded performer is running back Tony Pollard.

"Pollard’s 6.4 yards per rush outside the tackles in 2021 ranked second among backs with at least 50 attempts, per Next Gen Stats. His success as Dallas' No. 2 back helped earn him PFF's second-highest grade (90.3) among all RBs," Frelund wrote. "Given questions along the O-line, there is a strong and logical case to be made for Dallas to feature more plays with both Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott on the field."

Pollard received more snaps and touches in his third season, and he made his opportunities count by tallying 1,056 yards from scrimmage. 

While Pollard averaged 5.5 yards per carry while securing 39 of 46 targets, Elliott turned 237 handoffs into 1,002 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns as the featured back.

Cowboys fans and fantasy football players clamoring for increased playing time certainly appreciate Pollard. However, the former fourth-round pick has a $965,000 base salary in the final year of his rookie contract. Elliott, meanwhile, still has five years valued at over $65 million left on his deal.

Whether it's by Dallas or another organization, Pollard will likely receive far more recognition when hitting free agency next offseason. But first, the Cowboys should further expand his role in 2022.