Latest On Texans, TE Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz‘s free agent market underwhelmed last year. After being franchise-tagged by the Cowboys in 2022, the veteran starter settled for a one-year, $6.5MM Texans accord. It seems likely he will fare better this year.

The Texans are interested in retaining Schultz, with KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson indicating the tight end still wants to stay in Houston. Naturally, it will come down to terms. The Cowboys prevented Schultz from testing the market two years ago, and teams had cooled on the former Jason Witten successor by 2023. After another solid showing as a pass catcher, Schultz should have a chance to make up for lost time if he hits the open market.

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Although neither of the tight ends who played 2022 on the tag did well as free agents in 2023 — Mike Gesicki scored just $4.5MM in base value from the Patriots —’s Jeremy Fowler notes many teams expect Schultz to command a deal north of $10MM per year.

Evan Engram and Cole Kmet became the latest tight ends to cross the eight-figure-per-year threshold, doing so in 2023; 11 TEs are there presently. This market has not shown substantial growth, but Schultz’s production should warrant a commitment in this range. He ranks in the top 10 in receptions, yards and touchdowns among tight ends since taking the reins in Dallas in 2020. The 6-foot-5 pass catcher has topped 575 yards in each season, reaching 808 in 2021 and totaling 635 and five TDs in Houston last season.

The Patriots could potentially be in play for Schultz,’s Jeremy Fowler writes. They have Hunter Henry‘s three-year deal coming off the books soon. That said, the Pats’ 2021 tight end splurge — for Henry and Jonnu Smith — offered middling results. Henry did produce at points, however, and the Patriots have carved out considerable cap space ahead of Jerod Mayo‘s first offseason in charge. As of Sunday morning, New England leads the league with $101MM in cap room. The Texans carry a hefty amount, too, holding just more than $70MM.

Barring 11th-hour re-ups, this year’s TE free agent crop is set to include Schultz, Smith, Henry, Gesicki, Noah Fant and Gerald Everett. Fant is a player who figures to join Schultz as a coveted free agent, Fowler adds. Included in the Russell Wilson trade, Fant did not see his numbers spike in Seattle. After back-to-back seasons north of 650 yards in Denver, Fant did not clear 500 in either Seattle slate. But the Iowa product carries a first-round pedigree and is going into his age-26 season.

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