Cowboys Predicted to Trade Star TE to Panthers in ‘Bold’ Deal

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy speak at a press conference.

The Dallas Cowboys are being predicted to say goodbye to a major piece of the offense in a trade with the Carolina Panthers.

Throughout the offseason, there were questions at the tight end position due to a few factors: veteran tight end Blake Jarwin was released, Dalton Schultz’s rookie contract had ran its course and he was in need of a new deal, and the Cowboys added Jake Ferguson in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL draft.

Schultz never got a long-term deal, with Dallas instead franchise tagging him on a $10.93 million deal, according to Spotrac. Now, Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski is predicting Dallas to deal him.

“[The Cowboys] already paying top dollar at four different offensive positions (quarterback, running back, right guard and left tackle). Can they realistically afford to give Schultz a major deal as well?” Sobleski wrote. “If Dallas is comfortable with the two rookie tight ends[Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot]—while elevating veteran Sean McKeon to the active roster—Schultz could be a surprise trade candidate.”

The predicted return for Schultz? A conditional pick that could be worth up to a second-round selection, as well as a seventh-round pick.

Trading one of the league’s top-performing tight ends would be a surprise, but it is possible that Dallas isn’t thinking Schultz will be involved in the long-term, evidenced by the lack of a new contract.

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Schultz Impresses, But Cowboys Add New Hands

After his first two seasons in the league, Schultz broke out in a big way in the 2020 season. The former Stanford star received an opportunity to play a bigger role in the Cowboys’ offense, and he delivered with 615 receiving yards and four touchdowns, per PFR.

He then eclipsed those numbers last year, going for 808 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2021. A new long-term deal appeared to be in order, but Dallas elected to invest elsewhere.

Ferguson was the primary tight end addition of the offseason after four years, 1618 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns at Wisconsin. But Schultz doesn’t just have Ferguson backing him up, Dallas has also kept Hendershot for the 53-man roster.

Hendershot has impressed through the preseason thanks to impressive blocking skills and seizing opportunities when they materialized. His game-winning touchdown catch, which featured assistance from Ferguson, comes to mind.

Does Dallas Love the Rookies Enough to Trade Schultz?

It’s clear that the Cowboys like their rookies a lot, and that has prompted strong words from the team’s upper brass. Dallas CEO Stephen Jones even said he expects both players to have prominent roles this season.

“[Ferguson] has been everything and more we could’ve hoped for,” executive vice president Jones said during an interview with 105.3 The Fan. “[Hendershot] has really stepped up. I feel like those TEs have earned their way to being a big part of this season.”

Head coach Mike McCarthy expressed a similar sentiment, stating that he “loves” how the Ferguson and Hendershot approach the game.

“You talk about two rookies who have come in and have done an excellent job. You can see the way they picked it up, the practice tempo, the discipline, the extra hours, all the little things. And I think it definitely carries over in the way they play.”

Believing that the rookies are able to match or beat Schultz’s output is likely the only way the veteran tight end is traded, but the two young tight ends seem to be making it a real option.