Cowboys Could Unload Star in ‘Swing-for-the-Fences’ Trade

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could have trade options for TE Dalton Schultz.

The Dallas Cowboys have the option to pull off a major trade if they want something in return for their star.

As tight end Dalton Schultz continues to negotiate for a new contract after being placed with a $10.9 million franchise tender, the Cowboys could look to another scenario in order to get something in return for their starter. In a trade scenario from The Athletic’s Greg Auman, Auman suggests the Cowboys trade Schultz to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they can’t agree on a long-term deal.

This would be the Buccaneers’ immediate solution to the loss of Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement on Tuesday, June 21.

Buccaneers Would Replace Gronkowski With Schultz

The deal would be similar to what the Cowboys received in the trade involving Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns — a mid-round draft pick.

“This is the swing-for-the-fences answer to losing Gronkowsk,” says Auman. “Schultz, 25, has been prolific in the last two seasons with the Cowboys, making 78 catches for 808 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He got the franchise tag from Dallas, good for $10.9 million this season, but didn’t attend the final week of OTA workouts amid frustration with extension talks.”

Schultz posted 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns last season, numbers eerily similar to Gronkowski’s stat line of 55 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns last year.

As noted by Auman, Schultz sat out the final week of OTA activities to show his displeasure over his contract situation. The 26-year-old tight end has until the July 15 deadline to agree to a contract extension with the Cowboys. If a new contract is not agreed upon by then, Schultz will play out the 2022 season under the tender.

In this scenario proposed by Auman, the Buccaneers- who have roughly $12.5 million in available cap space — would sign Schultz to a four-year, $50 million deal to lower his cap number.

“It would likely take a mid-round pick to pry Schultz away from Dallas — remember, they let receiver Amari Cooper go to the Browns for a fourth-rounder and a late-round pick swap,” explains Auman. “For the Bucs to make it work cap-wise, they’d have to sign Schultz to an extension to lower his cap number. Spotrac gave him a market value of four years, $50 million this spring, so it would be another major commitment for a cap-strapped Bucs front office.”

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Cowboys Aren’t Trading Schultz in 2022

The numbers make sense from a market value standpoint as Spotrac estimates Schultz’s value to be at $12.6 million per year across four seasons. He would make $12.5 million per season in this proposed contract scenario by Auman.

While the Buccaneers would definitely agree to this deal if it only cost them a third or fourth-round draft pick, it doesn’t make any sense from the Cowboys’ point of view. Yes, it is unsettling that Dallas may allow Schultz to walk in free agency during the 2023 offseason. But they’re not unloading their most reliable receiving weapon the same year that they allowed Cooper and Cedrick Wilson to walk.

Todd Archer of ESPN noted that Schultz is likely to play the 2022 season on the franchise tag. Considering the Cowboys are entering the season with Super Bowl aspirations, they’ll risk the eventual departure of Schultz — without receiving anything in return — rather than trade him and receive pennies in return.

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Defender of the Free World
Defender of the Free World
9 months ago

Obviously, the author doesn’t understand what it means when a team signs a player (in actuality the player signs the Tag) to the “Tag”. Dallas has until July 15th to work out a long term contract with Shultz, or he’s playing for Dallas this season, on the Tag’s details. He CAN negotiate with another team but if that team offers him a contract, Dallas has the right to match the contract, if the they so choose. If not, the other team has to give Dallas TWO 1st Round Draft Picks. Now Dalton’s not a bad TE, in fact, he’s rather good at getting open and catching the ball. But if you’re expecting George Kittle, Travis Kelce or even Mark Jackson, forget it. Shultz has good hands. He’s extremely “football” smart. He’s a fair blocker. Not great at it but so few TE are great at it anymore. Personally, I think Shultz is on the same level as Prescott, as far as talent and ability are concerned. If the Cowboys DO sign him to a long term deal, it’ll be interesting to see how they end up doing. IMO it’s not the QB, TE or any other player position that’s the problem. I look at the OC. I’m hoping he’s much better organized this season. I’ve noticed Moore doesn’t do well with in-game management, which is alarming, since he’s a former NFL QB. Perhaps as he matures he’ll learn to handle it better.

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