NFL Insider: Cowboys Could Trade Dalton Schultz for First-Round Pick Haul

Dalton Schultz

Getty Dalton Schultz #86 of the Dallas Cowboys catches the ball during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at AT&T Stadium on October 03, 2021.

Typically, a franchise tag being placed on a player leads to said player sticking around. But if the offer is right, the Dallas Cowboys could cash out on Dalton Schultz.

The Cowboys elected to franchise tag Schultz on the deadline day on March 8, announcing that the 25-year-old will be sticking around for another year after growing into a key role in 2020 and 2021.

Tight ends are due $10.931 million in 2022 if they are franchise tagged, which is a considerable amount of money for a team like the Cowboys. Dallas just restructured the contracts of quarterback Dak Prescott and guard Zack Martin due to cap restrictions, and they’re still in need of money.

This leads to NFL Network’s Jane Slater’s latest update on Schultz and the Cowboys. Per the insider, Cowboys fans shouldn’t rule out a scenario where the team trades Schultz.

“Updates on other FA?” Slater tweeted. “No long term active negotiations with now tagged TE Dalton Schultz yet. Intent is there for a long term deal but want to see how things shake out. Keep in mind TE market is thin. #Cowboys could get a call for him and 2 1st round picks. So wait and see here.”

Slater then took a step back from the valuation but thinks that Dallas is in the driver seat in terms of the tight end market.

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Schultz’ Value at Franchise Tag

The past two seasons have seen Schultz rise as a consistent and important facet of the Cowboys’ passing attack. His 2021 season featured career highs in nearly every statistical category, as Schultz brought down 78 receptions for 808 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.

When you compare the value of the franchise tag to San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle’s $15 million salary, who is the top-paid TE in the NFL, it makes sense. $10.9 million feels like a lot, but that’s a considerable chunk lower than a deal like Kittle’s.

For the Cowboys, that means keeping Schultz is decent value if he matches his 2021 performance. The same goes for any team that really needs a tight end, so that makes him even more valuable in a trade.

Any team interested can get a proven and versatile TE for a decent salary, although the idea that a team would give up two first-round picks for Schultz feels very unlikely.

Insider Offers Updates on Other Cowboys Free Agents

Besides talking about Schultz and a possible trade, Slater also addressed the status of two Dallas free agents in wide receiver Michael Gallup and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

“As for #Cowboys WR Michael Gallup,” Slater wrote. “I’m told a deal is getting closer and could hear news of that deal soon. No news or progress still in the way of DeMarcus Lawrence. I should remind you how bleak the last talks were for a contract and then it got done so wait and see here too.”

Gallup has been the center of attention along with WR Amari Cooper, as it feels inevitable that at least one of the two receivers will leave the team this offseason. Slater update implies that Cooper is on the way out via trade, while Gallup will return on a new deal.

Meanwhile, all is quiet on the Lawrence front. But as Slater mentions, the last time the two sides negotiated didn’t include a ton of chatter or positive updates before a deal was eventually struck.

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