FRISCO, Texas – As the Cowboys wrap up OTAs this week, the expectation is that starting tight end Dalton Schultz will not attend the final set of voluntary practices.
Schultz, currently on the franchise tag, is seeking a long-term deal before the July 15 negotiating deadline.
He did sign his guaranteed one-year, $10.9 million tag in late March, and the Cowboys plan to continue talks with his representatives about a new contract.
Schultz set career highs in catches (78), receiving yards (808) and touchdowns (8) last year and figures to have a larger role this season as the Cowboys move forward without four-time Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper, who was traded to Cleveland in March.
Asked by reporters two weeks ago if he'd be OK with playing the season on the franchise tag, Schultz said, "I let my agent kind of handle all that business, and right now I'm just focused on the OTAs."
Schultz has been a regular participant in the voluntary offseason program up to this point, including the first two weeks of OTAs. An absence this week would indicate his preference for long-term security.
Next week the Cowboys have a mandatory three-day minicamp scheduled for June 14-16.
Eight players across the league received the franchise tag this year. Three were tight ends: Schultz, Mike Gesicki (Dolphins) and David Njoku (Browns). Njoku and the Browns recently agreed to a new four-year, $56.75 million deal which averages out to just over $14 million per season.
Will Schultz get his own deal? Both sides have 40 days to continue talks. If no deal is reached, he'll play the season on the tag and negotiations couldn't resume until 2023.
And if indeed Schultz is not at OTAs this week, fourth-round draft pick Jake Ferguson would get more practice reps, along with veterans Jeremy Sprinkle, Sean McKeon and Ian Bunting.