Cowboys Plan to Move on From $10.9 Million Playmaker After Trade: Report

Dalton Schultz has not found the free-agent market the tight end was expecting, but the Dallas Cowboys appear to be moving on from the starting playmaker. According to The Athletic’s Jon Machota, the Cowboys “appear committed to moving forward with Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot, Sean McKeon” despite Schultz’s availability. Dallas could also use a high draft pick to select Schultz’s potential replacement.

“Dalton Schultz remains an unsigned unrestricted free agent, but it doesn’t sound like there’s much interest coming from the Cowboys at this point,” Machota wrote on March 20, 2023. “They appear committed to moving forward with Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot, Sean McKeon and a player they potentially add in the draft. This is a deep tight end draft class. But it would be somewhat surprising to see the Cowboys take a tight end in the first round, just because they haven’t done it since selecting David LaFleur in 1997.”

The Cowboys just traded for Brandin Cooks who the team will be on the hook for $12 million of his $18 million salary next season, per Houston KPRC’s Aaron Wilson. Dallas now has a projected $3.2 million in cap space, per Spotrac and still needs room to sign their upcoming draft class. Schultz played on the franchise tag last season giving the tight end a $10.9 million salary. The Cowboys opted to use the franchise tag on Tony Pollard for 2023.

Chargers & Bengals Labeled Contenders to Sign Dalton Schultz, Says Insider

With Mike Gesicki signing a one-year, $4.5 million contract, it is hard to imagine Schultz landing a long-term lucrative deal the longer free agency goes on. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Schultz is now likely to sign a one-year deal and re-enter the free agent market in 2024. The NFL insider labeled the Bengals and Chargers as two potential contenders for Schultz.

“Dalton Schultz, the tight end, is the best free agent on the market right now still,” Fowler said on a March 19 edition of SportsCenter, via Bleacher Report’s Rob Goldberg. “Really accomplished receiver/tight end with Dak Prescott in Dallas. This is a situation where teams would love to sign him but nobody’s really committing big money to the tight end position right now.

“He could reset on a one-year deal with a high upside to go to a contender where you could get your numbers up. If you look at Joe Burrow, they need a tight end in Cincinnati, could be an option there. Chargers, he could reunite with Kellen Moore, his offensive coordinator in Dallas.”

Could the Cowboys Draft Their Next Starting Tight End at No. 26?

The Cowboys offense will look remarkably different in 2023 with Schultz, Ezekiel Elliott and Noah Brown all expected to be playing for opposing teams. All this adds plenty of intrigue to what the Cowboys will do at No. 26 in the upcoming draft with both running back and tight end as potential options for Dallas in the first round. CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson has Dallas selecting Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave at No. 26 in his latest mock draft.

“He was getting some late-first/early Day-2 buzz down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and while he didn’t have a great week, it was certainly easy to see why teams like him,” Wilson wrote on March 20. “Musgrave missed most of ’22 with an injury, but he’s well built, long, and has the athleticism to consistently separate from both safeties and linebackers. His blocking is a work in progress, but he’ll be a contributor in the passing game from Day 1.”

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