(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2022 season. Today, the staff writers discuss Dalton Schultz's franchise tag.)
FRISCO, Texas — As we slog through the quietest stretch of the offseason, there is one significant date on the schedule before training camp starts at the end of the month:
That's the last day the Cowboys and tight end Dalton Schultz can negotiate a new multi-year deal before Schultz must play the upcoming season on the one-year, $10.9 million franchise tag he signed in the spring.
Apparently hoping to ramp up conversations, Schultz chose not to participate in the final week of voluntary OTAs last month but returned for the mandatory minicamp. The next step? That's the subject of our next "20 Questions" entry.
16) What The Future Looks Like For Dalton Schultz?
Rob Phillips: This has a similar feel to 2020, when there wasn't much movement on a new deal for Dak Prescott and nothing got done by July 15 that year. So I guess I lean that way with Schultz right now. However, all it takes is one productive phone call for contracts to get finalized pretty quickly. I know for a fact that the Cowboys would like to work out something long term with Schultz, but as always, the structure of the deal is the question, and David Njoku's contract with Cleveland (reportedly averaging a little over $14 million per year with close to $30 million guaranteed) probably adds a new wrinkle to the negotiations. On the field, Schultz needed only about 11 more receiving yards per game last year to reach 1,000 for the season. He's going to be a big part of the offense whether he's playing on the tag or not.
Nick Eatman: This is a real tricky one, for me. I try not to sit on the fence too much, mainly because it just hurts. It's not comfortable and neither is this question. We did a podcast a few weeks ago and talked about this and in the first 10 minutes, I was like "No way, I'm not getting pressured into giving Schultz a long-term deal. He needs to prove it one more year." And then in about 10 more minutes, I was thinking, "Oh man, what if he leaves. Then what? Nah, you have to sign him." And then about 10 minutes later, I was back on that fence. It's a tough one because he doesn't come across as a $15 million per season player, but if not him, then who? I'd like to see one year with him as more of a threat in the passing game. If defenses key on him and he still produces, then yeah, I'd be fine in re-signing him. But I think he plays this year out under the tag.
Kyle Youmans: It may seem impossible to tell at this point, without a long-term deal in place and the July 15 deadline looming, there are clues in place. Dallas is comfortable giving him the franchise tag for the 2022 season, but may see him as replaceable, especially with his higher terms. That means the deciding factor would be his production this season. If it's another year like he's had over the last two, his price tag may be too much to keep around.