Do you think Dalton Schultz is worthy of a long-term/big money deal? He most certainly has taken big strides for a fourth-round pick and has some solid qualities, but I find myself wondering if a chunk of his production was a byproduct of a very deep receiver corps. I'm not sure I see anything "special" or dynamic, per se, and wonder if the Cowboys (and you) feel the same. When I see "stalled negotiations" and Dallas invest in Jake Ferguson in this year's draft, I think the writing may be on the wall but was curious on your take. – ROB RIGGIERI / RUTLAND, MA
David: For starters, I completely agree with your point about the writing being on the wall. The Cowboys have taken steps to insure themselves against losing Schultz, and I don't think it would be terribly surprising to watch him walk in free agency next year. However, the one thing that could change that is Schultz's willingness to take a little bit less. I don't think it would be smart to set the market for Dalton Schultz. But I would be willing to sign him to a more team-friendly deal – maybe something similar to David Njoku, who is currently fifth in the league in average salary. Schultz is productive, versatile, a wonderful teammate and has a good rapport with Dak Prescott. He's definitely worth signing long-term. But this is a case where the Cowboys can and probably should play a little hardball. If he's willing to sign on their terms, wonderful. If not, then the tag it is.
Rob: Yeah, I do think he's worthy of a long-term deal. The Cowboys like to budget their cap two, three years out, so how much is the question, like with anybody, because they've got to keep in mind other starters (Trevon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons) who will be eligible for extensions in the next couple years. I'm not sure if drafting Jake Ferguson in the fourth round is a clear signal that Schultz is here only one more year. Blake Jarwin's hip injury/release made tight end depth an obvious draft need for this year, not just down the road. I don't know if Schultz and the Cowboys will reach a deal by July 15 – there hasn't been much movement, hence Schultz's decision not to practice this week – but I do believe they're interested in trying to figure out a new deal.
How hot is Coach McCarthy's seat? Barring major injuries, if the Cowboys go 11-6, make the playoffs, but lose in the first round, is he safe? – GARET TANAKA / WAILUKU, HI
David: This might be a cop out, but Jerry and Stephen Jones are probably the only people who truly know the answer to that question. It probably depends on how the team plays, how they improve as the season goes along and what they look like in the playoffs. But to be more direct, I'll just say this: you saw how upset Jerry Jones was in the wake of that loss to San Francisco. If 2022 ends in similar fashion, I think January is going to be an uncomfortable month for a lot of people.
Rob: Sorry, but like Dave said, I have no idea. Because at the end of the day, we can make an educated guess about hypothetical decisions a year from now, but ultimately the Joneses are the only ones who make those calls, and nobody can read their minds. Obviously last year's first-round exit didn't meet anyone's expectations around here. The goal is to go much further. But it's also worth noting that Jerry has shown considerable patience with past head coaches and the programs they've tried to put in place.