The Detroit Lions have made many upgrades during free agency, and targeted multiple different positions for different upgrades ahead of the 2023 season.
One spot the team hasn’t addressed thus far is tight end, and that’s in spite of the Lions trading their best player near the end of last season. But there are still options on the free agency market that could make sense for the team.
Dalton Schultz, formally of the Dallas Cowboys, remains on the market. If the Lions want to address the tight end spot, Bleacher Report sees him as one of the best fits for the team.
Writer Alex Ballentine took a close look at naming some of the top free agents left and their best fits across the league. The Lions placed for Schultz along with Houston and the Los Angeles Chargers.
As Ballentine explained, Schultz could be one addition that the Lions could use to boost themselves for 2023 on offense. His blocking and catching ability could serve as a bonus for Detroit.
“The Lions have a receiving corps full of speed and options on the outside. But after trading away T.J. Hockenson, they could use a veteran tight end to bring things together in the passing game. Schultz would certainly qualify and is a good enough blocker to stay on the field for a Lions team that runs the ball well,” Ballentine wrote.
If Schultz was indeed signed by the Lions, he would have the most experience of anybody on the roster at tight end. That would make him an interesting choice for the Lions, because at 26, he is still very young.
The Lions haven’t focused on offense much in free agency’s early stages, but that could be set to change in the second wave. Targeting a player like Schultz could be an interesting move for the team.
Dalton Schultz’s Career Stats & Highlights
As a former Dallas tight end, Dan Campbell will likely understand what it means to put together the kind of effort that Schultz has shown the last few years with the Cowboys.
A former fourth-round pick in 2018 out of Stanford, Schultz has done a nice job in the NFL after helping develop himself into a top end talent.
Schultz hits the market, and while he might not be seen as the top name, he is certainly a key player given what he has done. With 2,122 yards and 17 career scores, he’s been a key part of the Dallas offense down the field.
In addition to that, Schultz has shown toughness, which could make him ideal for what the Lions want to do. Paying the 26 year-old could be a good solution for Detroit to boost a needy spot in their room.
Lions Tight Ends Finished 2022 Strong
Even without another addition, the Lions have options at the tight end position, given how well the team’s players performed down the stretch. The group managed to achieve a franchise record for touchdown catches in a season with their play.
Against the Chicago Bears, the Lions needed a big game to keep their offense hot, and Jared Goff and Brock Wright got their combination hot in order to do so. Wright himself caught a pair of scores, both of which brought Detroit’s seasonal total at tight end to 12.
As the team’s public relation account pointed out on, the Lions managed to set the franchise record with both of the passes in the game.
“With Brock Wright’s 2nd TD of the game, his first multi-TD game, Lions tight ends have now produced 12 TDs this season. This establishes a new team record for the most TDs in a season by tight ends,” the site tweeted.
It’s fair to point out that Hockenson did contribute three of those touchdowns earlier last season, so it’s not exactly if he wasn’t a part of the equation. Notable, however, is the fact that the Lions have been able to carry on with the cast they have at the position.
In spite of this, the Lions might like one more player, either a veteran free agent or a draft pick to come in and add to the roster.
Between Shane Zylstra, James Mitchell and Wright, this group has picked up the slack well in order to produce for the team. Wright and Zylstra came back as exclusive rights free agents, so they will be a part of the mix for 2023 already.
The only thing left to find out is whether or not a veteran will join them when all is said and done. Schultz could be just the guy to get that done in the end.