The Dallas Cowboys have been blessed with the emergence of Dalton Schultz, a tight end. Schultz is now the Cowboys’ TE1 and one the best tight ends in the league. Schultz, who is now a free agent following the season, has seen his play skyrocket in value. This is the Cowboys’ challenge.
Schultz will be receiving a substantial raise from his $2.18million salary. This is part of a bargain four-year contract worth $2.9 million. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell thinks Schultz’s emergence may cause the Cowboys not to release Blake Jarwin in this offseason.
“I believe [Chargers receiver Mike Williams] would be franchised if it was a great season. (Mike Gesicki could also be in this boat. Schultz might be different, as he plays for the Cowboys team that has big investments in offense. Barnwell explained this on November 11. “Dallas could make Blake Jarwin redundant to keep Schultz. Schultz is currently sixth in the NFL for receiving yards among tight ends since Week 2.
“Schultz received some help from playing alongside great receivers but he also didn’t have Dak Prescott during most of that stretch. He could be looking at more than $10million per season if he continues this trend.
Based on his open market price, the Cowboys may prefer Schultz to Jarwin. Jarwin is currently on a $42 million, four-year deal which will pay him $4.5 million in salary in 2022. Although Dallas has the potential to be released after this season, they would still need to pay a $2 million cap if Jarwin is released.
In Week 10, Schultz is 37 receiving yards with three touchdowns. Schultz is poised to surpass all previous career records in almost every major statistical category. Jarwin only 10 receptions of 90 yards, and two touchdowns in the same time frame.
Most telling statistic is Schultz’s snap count, where Schultz has participated in at least 69% in all games this season. Schultz has participated in 95% snaps in Week 9, 82% Week 8 and 84% Week 6, following the team’s bye.
Jarwin has averaged 50.2% snaps in his seven appearances this year and has been a much smaller focal point in the receiving side than Schultz. Jarwin suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 1, 2020. He has also been injured throughout 2021. Jarwin was able to recover from most of his injuries, but his endurance is still a concern.
After the season, the Cowboys will have to make difficult decisions as they have a lot of important players who are available for free agency. The Athletic’s Bob Strum lists Schultz as one of the Cowboys’ top-rated free agents. This is in addition to Randy Gregory, Cedrick Wilkins, Jayron Kearse and Leighton Vander Esch. Keanu Neal is also on the Cowboys’ list. With the way Schultz has performed this season, the Cowboys might not be able to afford Schultz.
Sturm stated, “This is your most tight end.” You might not like that and you may want to draft a better player, but for now, he runs blocks, passes protects, and catches the ball. If I can afford it, I will keep him. It might not be possible.