FRISCO – “Dalton deserves this position that he’s in,” Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said of holdout tight end Dalton Schultz. “So hopefully we can get it worked out.”
The sentiment is lovely. The positivity is, too.
But for now, it’s “The Dallas Cowboys vs. Dalton Schultz.”
Which side are you on?
As our Richie Whitt writes…
“Like you (probably), I’m torn about Dalton Schultz. On one hand, c’mon now, the Cowboys’ tight end is no Mike Ditka, Billie Joe Dupree, Jay Novacek or Jason Witten. Do you really skip offseason activities in hopes of a bigger contract when – let’s face it – you’re an inferior blocker?
“And in an offense blessed with coverage-demanding targets such as Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, there’s bound to be one-on-one stats scraps to gobble up.
“On the other hand, hard to argue against his production. Schultz caught seven more touchdowns than Falcons’ Pro Bowler Kyle Pitts and only the Ravens’ Mark Andrews and Chiefs’ Travis Kelce had more catches.
“Is Schultz a replaceable “system star”? Or an elite route-runner and receiver that deserves every penny he can get?
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“Your move, Jerry Jones.”
In one sense, the $10.9 million franchise tag already represents the Jones family’s move. But there hasn’t been any other movement, which is why Schultz sat out last week’s voluntary OTAs. And he did so with respect, as he personally contacted McCarthy to open this week to alert him to his position.
But Whitt makes a point about Schultz’ relative value. He’s not Kelce, Andrews or Pitts. And the fact that he’s at least as productive as the Browns’ David Njoku (with a massive new APY deal of $14 million) doesn’t require Dallas to see that as the bar.
Schultz and the Cowboys have until July 15 to work out a multi-year deal or Schultz will play the 2022 season on the tag. One option has Dallas – which we can argue could’ve signed a free agent tight end for half this price – simply staying put, using Schultz for this one season, and then moving on from him. That’s not a bad idea if Jake Ferguson, the fourth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, develops into being Schultz-like.
What Schultz has done in setting career highs in catches (78), receiving yards (808) and touchdowns (eight) last year while continuing to gain the full trust of QB Dak Prescott (who said without worry, “We’ll handle it’ ‘) puts him in an enviable seat. Worst-case, he makes almost $11 mil fully guaranteed and in spring 2023 is a free agent again.
But you know what? Even a year from now, that won’t be an automatic decision for anybody – including the two sides of the argument from here inside The Star, and from all over Cowboys Nation.
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