FRISCO, Texas – Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy fully understands the business side of the NFL as it pertains to Dalton Schultz's absence from this week's final set of voluntary organized team activities.
McCarthy said he and Schultz spoke last Friday about the starting tight end's decision not to participate in OTAs this week as he hopes to increase contract talks with the organization while on the one-year franchise tag.
"Business is business and I'm in the business of winning football games. We all have contracts. We all have these types of situations that they come about," McCarthy said. "Timing obviously plays into these decisions and transactions. Now, as a head coach, it takes you a few years to get used to it, but I think you have to learn to separate things in this world.
"Dalton deserves this position that he's in. So hopefully we can get it worked out."
Schultz and the Cowboys have until July 15 to work out a multi-year deal or Schultz must play the 2022 season on the tag, worth just under $11 million. Schultz signed the tag in late March.
He 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.
McCarthy said he and Schultz have not yet discussed whether Schultz plans to return for next week's mandatory minicamp.
"My conversation with him was he was going to miss this week and it was to focus on his business situation," McCarthy said.
Schultz had been a regular participant in the offseason program up to this point.
"I'm not worried about his commitment or what he's done," McCarthy said. "He's in great shape. If he was standing here, he would tell you this is the strongest he's ever been. He's put a tremendous amount of work into the offseason. I think it's clearly why I separate it. It's business. It's business that he's tending to, and it's understood."
Schultz's absence this week has meant more practice reps for tight ends Jeremy Sprinkle, Sean McKeon, Peyton Hendershot and Jake Ferguson, the fourth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin.