Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Cowboys could add 2-time Pro Bowl TE amid contract issues with Dalton Schultz

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The Dallas Cowboys are considering how to proceed after Dalton Schultz’s recent holdout due to a lack of progress on a contract in the tight end position.

The 25-year-old is set to make at least $10.93 million in 2022 thanks to the franchise tag, Heavy previously reported. However, Schultz made it clear that he wanted a long-term contract by skipping optional exercises.

While Dallas appears to be working towards a new deal with Schultz, their other option is not to pay Schultz and prepare for a future without him. The team just drafted Jake Ferguson in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL draft, but the Cowboys could use another proven veteran should things get ugly in negotiations with Schultz.

This is where Kyle Rudolph comes in. The former New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings tight end is entering his 12th season in the league and has two Pro Bowl honors to his name.

At 32, Rudolph is past his sporting prime, but the numbers show he’s still capable of delivering on offense. If the price for the Cowboys is right, going after the former Viking would make a lot of sense.

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Rudolph, who had finished college, had built an impressive reputation as the absolute tight end at Notre Dame. His 6’6″ height certainly helped as Rudolph was a living mismatch for most of his soccer career.

After the Vikings drafted Rudolph in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft, he spent the next decade at purple and was a key wheel on the team’s offense. He earned two Pro Bowl nominations, the first in 2012 when he had nine touchdowns and nearly 500 yards, according to the Pro Sports Reference. The second honor came in 2017 after a season of eight touchdowns and 532 yards received.

After 10 seasons in Minnesota, Rudolph and the Vikings parted ways. The Giants paid him $7 million in 2021 to become a key aspect of their offense, but the New York offense has struggled. Rudolph would end the season with 293 yards and a touchdown.

In addition to Ferguson and Schultz, the Cowboys also have tight end Jeremy Sprinkle on the roster. However, Sprinkle received a “prove-it” deal that’s expected to net him just over $1 million, a sign that he’s not considered a definite factor or improvement this season.

Rudolph’s track record speaks for itself and his stock has never been lower. With $20 million in cap space per Spotrac, the Cowboys have the funds to sign Rudolph on an affordable deal, maybe half his salary with the Giants.

It’s an opportunity for Rudolph to join a legitimately competitive team and show he can still be a problem for opposing defenses. The addition of a player like Rudolph puts pressure on Schultz to compete and perform, unlike someone like Sprinkle who initially sees him cracking the final 53-man list.

The Cowboys have to prepare for all sorts of outcomes, and the further the team progresses without a deal for Schultz, the sooner they’ll have to add another option.

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