The appearance of Dalton Schultz is both a gift and a curse to the Dallas Cowboys. Schultz has grown into the Cowboys TE1 and one of the better tight ends in the league. The challenge for the Cowboys is that Schultz will be a free agent after the season and his game has skyrocketed in value.
Schultz is on track for a sizeable $ 2.18 million raise on a four-year $ 2.9 million contract. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes the appearance of Schultz could lead the Cowboys to release Blake Jarwin this off-season.
“I think [Chargers receiver Mike Williams] will get franchise when it has a big season. (Mike Gesicki could fall into that boat, too.) The same may not apply to Schultz, who plays on the offensive for a cowboys team with big investments, ”Barnwell explained on November 11th to Schultz, who has been on the grid since joining Finished sixth in the NFL in Received Yards Tight Ends Week 2 of last season.
“Schultz got some help playing alongside great receivers, but he also didn’t have Dak Prescott most of the time. If he goes on like this, he expects more than $ 10 million per season in the open market. “
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The cowboys would probably prefer to keep Schultz over Jarwin, depending on what he does in the open market. The challenge is that Jarwin is on a four-year, $ 22 million contract that should earn him a salary of $ 4.5 million in 2022. Dallas has post-season potential but would still have to take a $ 2 million cap hit if they release Jarwin, per Spotrac.
In Week 10, Schultz has 37 receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns. Schultz is well on the way to hitting career highs in almost all major statistical categories. Jarwin only has 10 receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns over the same period.
The most telling statistic is the number of snaps that Schultz has played in at least 69% of the games in each game this season. Most recently, Schultz played 95% of the Snaps in Week 9, 82% in Week 8, and 84% in Week 6 after the team said goodbye.
By comparison, Jarwin averaged 50.2% of the snaps in his seven appearances this season and was much less the focus in the receiving game than Schultz. Jarwin tore a cruciate ligament at the end of the season in Week 1 of 2020 and also struggled with injuries in 2021. The good news is Jarwin was able to play through injuries for most of the season, but his durability remains a matter of the future.
The Cowboys face some tough choices when the free agency strikes after the season as the team has a number of key players who will go to the open market. The Athletic’s Bob Sturm has Schultz among the best cowboys free agents to keep along with Randy Gregory, Cedrick Wilson, Jayron Kearse, Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal. The Cowboys may not have the money to keep Schultz the way he has played this season.
“That’s your best tight end,” said Sturm. “You may not be impressed by this and you might want to try and design a better one, but right now he’s running, blocks, passes, protects and catches the ball. I’ll keep it if I can do it at a manageable price. The problem is that it may not be possible. “