Long-Term Dalton Schultz Extension Still Possible?

Days away from the deadline for franchise tag decisions, there is a wide range spanning the various situations teams are in with tagged players. While all signs point to Mike Gesicki playing out the season on the one-year pact, there could be cause for optimism regarding a deal being reached between Dalton Schultz and the Cowboys. 

The tight end will earn $10.9MM in 2022 in the absence of a long-term extension. That figure would represent a substantial raise from his rookie contract earnings, but the position’s market has been boosted this offseason by David Njoku‘s unexpectedly lucrative extension in particular. That has likely influenced contract talks between Dallas and the former fourth-rounder failing to pick up much traction.

However, an eleventh-hour breakthrough remains possible. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo notes how talks have continued throughout much of the offseason, and predicts that further discussions will take place this week (video link). More specifically, he is “[keeping] open the possibility of a long-term deal” being agreed upon before the deadline on July 15.

That would represent a stark contrast to where things currently stand between Gesicki and the Dolphins, and the tone struck by Schultz himself as this process has played out. The soon-to-be 26-year-old skipped part of the team’s OTAs while he was frustrated by the progress of negotiations; he did, however, report to minicamp.

If Schultz does end up playing on the tag, he will have the chance to put together a second straight campaign with significant production. He emerged as a focal point in the Cowboys’ offense in 2021, registering 78 catches, 808 yards and eight touchdowns. Duplicating those figures could be made easier by the absence of Amari Cooper, and the subsequent uptick in targets Schultz could see in 2022.

If he does land a multi-year pact, though, the Stanford alum could join the seven-player club of TEs averaging at least $12.5MM per season. How much the Cowboys (who rank third in the league in 2022 cap space) are willing to compensate Schultz will dictate how this situation ends later this week.

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