Cowboys Warned Against Re-Signing Star Player in Free Agency: ‘Let Him Walk’

Mike McCarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy reacts after a play.

The Dallas Cowboys may have opened up cap space for free agency, but they still have to figure out the future of several key players.

Dallas has a handful of players set to test free agency, and they’ve already used the franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard. One player yet to sign a deal with the team is tight end Dalton Schultz.

The Cowboys seem interested in getting a deal done with Schultz, but Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon is advising the team against it. For Kenyon, the deciding factor is that he hasn’t produced at an elite level.

“Game-breaking tight ends are worth a massive contract. Dalton Schultz, a quality player who’s topped out at 78 receptions for 808 yards, simply hasn’t reached that level,” the article reads. “Some franchise will likely pay Schultz in the $12-15 million range annually to see if he can unearth that ceiling, but the Cowboys should let him walk at that price.”

There’s no question that Schultz has the ability of a starting NFL tight end, but a team that’s financially tight like the Cowboys has to be careful of handing out big contracts, especially if the player isn’t going to meet his contract value.

Schultz Turns Down Offer

Dallas may be getting warned about re-signing Schultz, but they’ve already offered a deal to Schultz according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

The details of the new contract are not known, but Breer described it as a significant offer ahead of the free agency window opening.

“Assuming Pollard doesn’t get a deal by Tuesday in Dallas, and with Engram tagged, Dalton Schultz will avoid being tagged and hit the market as the top available tight end,” Breer wrote. “He’s already turned down a pretty solid multiyear offer from the Cowboys.”

Schultz will be in high demand, and clearly, Dallas would prefer to keep him than let him walk. The problem is that the tight end is set up for his second NFL deal, and will be looking for the largest possible number accordingly.

The Cowboys could potentially swing it, but it’s going to take more salary cap maneuvers and will still be a gamble.

Cowboys Navigating Cap Space

By restructuring the contracts of quarterback Dak Prescott and guard Zack Martin, Dallas was able to open up $30 million in cap space, putting them in the green by about $12.4 million.

Spotrac shows that there are other ways the Cowboys can free up money, although it would take some major roster changes. The most-talked-about option is the release of RB Ezekiel Elliott, which can save them another $10.9 million this season.

$25.3 million is enough to re-sign Schultz and make other moves, but Dallas still needs to consider the ways they can improve the squad at key positions like wide receiver and corner.

Schultz is a serious weapon, but Dallas sorely needed a second top-level receiver in 2022 and rookie TEs Peyton Hendershot and Jake Ferguson showed promise in their opportunities. Schultz will get paid, but it just seems like the Cowboys are not the right NFL team to do so.

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