Colts’ Potential Target Turned Down ‘Solid’ Contract Offer: Report

Shane Steichen

Getty Head coach Shane Steichen and the Indianapolis Colts could be interested in targeting a free agent who turned down a multi-year contract offer from his former team.

The Indianapolis Colts could be interested in signing tight end Dalton Schultz this offseason. If they are, though, the Colts will have to open the wallet considerably.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Schultz’s former team, the Dallas Cowboys, offered Schultz a contract that the tight end turned down. Breer did not disclose the details of the negotiations but did write that it was a “pretty solid multiyear” offer.

Schultz is set to become the most prized tight end on the free agent market.

“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 on March 6, 2023. “He’s already turned down a pretty solid multiyear offer from the Cowboys.”

The Colts already have a pretty full tight end depth chart, but the media has mentioned Schultz as a potential free agent target for the team.

Colts to Target TE Dalton Schultz in NFL Free Agency?

The Colts have needs at quarterback and offensive tackle. They may also need to add another wide receiver if Parris Campbell leaves in free agency.

But CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin named Schultz as the top free agent signing the Colts should make.

“Tackle is a need, as is QB, of course, but assuming Indy uses the draft to address the gaping hole under center, Schultz is a logical multipurpose investment,” Benjamin wrote. “Tight end may not be in shambles, but he primarily functions as a pass-catcher.

“Still just 26, he’d theoretically take some of the pressure off Michael Pittman Jr. as an over-the-middle outlet.”

Schultz has posted at least 55 receptions and 575 receiving yards each of the past three seasons. He has also scored 13 touchdowns — at least 5 in both 2021 and 2022 — over the last two years.

For a team that lacks experienced weapons, Schultz would be a great addition for the Colts. He turns 27 in July and could immediately slide onto Indianapolis’ roster as the team’s top receiving tight end.

Again, it’s not clear what the Cowboys offered Schultz, but Spotrac projected his market value to be $60.6 million on a four-year contract. Pro Football Focus, who ranked Schultz the top available tight end and No. 20 overall player in free agency this year, estimated a similar value of $58 million on a four-year deal.

Schultz will likely make an excess of $14.5 million on an annual basis with his next contract.

Colts Better Off Spending Elsewhere in NFL Free Agency?

While Schultz would be a nice addition for the Colts, it’s still worth wondering if the team would be better off spending elsewhere.

The Colts possess $12.7 million in cap space as of March 9 and can easily open up an additional $19.3 million with the release of quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Nick Foles.

General manager Chris Ballard could sign Schultz if he wanted to.

But the Colts already have seven tight ends signed for 2023. The team will return their top three tight ends in receiving from last year, and rookie Andrew Ogletree, who the Colts drafted in the sixth round last year will be back from his preseason ACL injury.

Teams can never have enough pass catchers in the modern NFL. But with the offensive line and wide receiver needs, the Colts may not be able to afford Schultz, especially if he’s content on breaking the bank as it appears he may be.

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