The Dallas Cowboys are “not close” to a long-term deal with tight end Dalton Schultz, according to Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. The sides have until July 15th to reach an agreement and in the event that they don’t strike a deal, Schultz would play the 2022 season under the franchise tag.
For many, the potential outcomes of these negotiations seem very clear. Given recent reports and the fact that Dalton Schultz missed the final week of OTAs to show his displeasure with the talks, the prospects of a long-term commitment appear bleak.
Schultz could play one more year for the Cowboys for $10.9M under the tag and then the parties could move on in 2023. Dallas would get high-end production from their tight end in a season in which they desperately need it with so many question marks at wide receiver.
On the other hand, the 25-year-old would get a chance to put up big numbers (for the second straight year) in one of the league’s most efficient offenses before hitting free agency next offseason.
This appears to be the most likely scenario as the July 15th deadline looms closer and closer.
Now granted, deadlines make deals. The Cowboys could turn this storyline around in the eleventh hour by agreeing to pay Schultz market value. Potentially, David Njoku’s recent contract with the Cleveland Browns could provide a framework for the sides.
But there’s another scenario flying under the radar that could keep Schultz in Dallas beyond 2022 without a contract extension.
Cowboys could go the “double-dip” route with the franchise tag
This conversation is usually reserved for quarterbacks in the NFL. Why else would a team tag a player on consecutive seasons? Virtually, it doesn’t make a ton of sense provided how inflexible the tag is for salary cap purposes.
But if Schultz makes his case with another productive season and the Cowboys are not high on next year’s free agent tight ends or are unimpressed with Jake Ferguson’s rookie season, this is a scenario to explore.
Technically, the Cowboys could land Dalton Schultz at a price lower than market value for two straight seasons. The second tag would come in at a price 20% higher than this year’s price, which would mean Dallas could get Schultz for close to $13.1 million in 2023.
Meanwhile, Njoku signed for an average value of $13.6 million and the tight end market could continue rising with Mike Gesicki waiting for his upcoming deal.
Only five tight ends in the league average more than $13,1 million per year in the NFL right now.
Clearly, this would be an unideal route to take, but if push comes to shove next offseason and the Cowboys remain hesitant on making a long-term commitment, it should be considered by the front office.
It’s not “long-term vs one year” for Schultz and the Dallas Cowboys.
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