Tight End Drama: Will The Cowboys Re-Sign Dalton Schultz Long-Term?

June 10, 2022
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Week three of OTAs for the Dallas Cowboys begins this week, but they will be without one player. That player is tight end Dalton Schultz who is looking for a new contract. Schultz was recently signed to the franchise tag in early March worth $10.9 million.

Schultz isn’t happy that there hasn’t been any discussion for a long-term contract. Does Schultz have the leverage or does he make it back to the camp sooner than later? Before we get too deep into the situation, let’s talk about who Dalton Schultz is.

College Days Dalton Schultz 

Position- TE

Height-6’5”, Weight-255lbs

College-Stanford; Drafted in 2018- fourth round/pick 137  

In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Schultz in the fourth round out of Stanford. During his time at Stanford, he was mostly used as a blocking tight end that helped block for former Stanford stars Christian McCaffery and Bryce Love while receiving Pac-12 honorable mentions. In his senior year, he racked up 22 receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns.

Dallas Cowboys Dalton Schultz

At the time, the Cowboys had two tight ends retire, future Hall of Famer Jason Witten and James Hanna. The only tight ends they had on the roster were Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin. In Schultz’s rookie year he was used for more blocking duties, racking up only 12 receptions and 116 yards.

However, he helped running back Ezekiel Elliott become the NFL rushing champion in 2018. It wasn’t only until the 2020 season that we saw Schultz become more involved as a receiver.  In the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, Blake Jarwin tore his ACL and was out for the year. Schultz took over as tight end one and that year he racked up 63 receptions, 615 yards, and four touchdowns.

As for this last season, Schultz became Dak Prescott’s favorite target when they needed that five to eight yards to get the first down. Occasionally, he would be their red-zone threat considering he finished with eight touchdowns last year. This season was a career-high for Schultz accumulating 78 receptions, 808 yards, and eight touchdowns. 

Schultz’s Market Value

Yes, Schultz is a reliable tight end for the Cowboys, but is he the best tight end in the league? No, but you can argue and say he’s in the top ten for tight ends. As of now, he’s the eighth highest-paid tight end behind of course Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Mark Andrews.

There are three other tight ends that are noticeably higher than Schultz. That’s the Patriot’s two tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith who are both getting paid $12.5 million a year. Recently, the Cleveland Browns re-signed David Njoku to a four-year contract worth $56.75 million putting him as the fifth highest-paid tight end worth $13.6 million a year. That being said, Sportac.com has Schultz’s market value at $12.6 million a year but due to the holdout, he may be looking closer to that $13 million or more range.

Is Dalton Schultz Worth Re-Signing?

Although, do I believe he’s got the leverage to hold out? No, and here’s why.

The Cowboys in the fourth round of this year’s draft took former Wisconsin tight end, Jake Ferguson. Ferguson just recently just signed a four-year rookie contract. Ferguson was quite the productive tight end at Wisconsin in his four years. He accumulated 145 receptions, 1,618 yards, and 13 touchdowns overall.  

All through rookie minicamp and OTAs, Ferguson has received nothing but good praise from coaches and media. We will see in July once pads and helmets are on how Ferguson transitions to the NFL. Also on the team is two-year vet Sean Mckeon who was showing promise in last year’s pre-season as a receiving tight end until his early injury sidelined him until November. Mckeon finished with four receptions, 27 yards, and a touchdown in the Thanksgiving game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

While Schultz is holding out, Ferguson and Mckeon are getting quality reps to get better. Instead of forcing the Cowboys to re-sign him, he possibly gave them more confidence going with Jake Ferguson and Sean Mckeon as the future. Only time will tell which direction the Cowboys go, either way, the youth movement is definitely here. 

Cowboys

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