A month remains until the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions. A few players — Chris Godwin, Cam Robinson, Davante Adams, David Njoku — have already inked long-term deals after being tagged. Njoku’s Browns extension pertains to two other members of the 2022 tag group.
While not much has developed on the Mike Gesicki-Dolphins front, the Cowboys’ tagged tight end has voiced his displeasure with his current situation this offseason. Dalton Schultz attended some Cowboys OTA sessions but skipped others, making it known his contract was at the root of the absences. The Cowboys may have gotten the message.
Talks between the Cowboys and their fifth-year tight end have picked up recently, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, noting Schultz reported to Dallas’ minicamp Tuesday. It is not known how close the Cowboys and Schultz are on a long-term deal, as they were far apart recently. But the parties have time. Nearly every year, negotiations seemingly headed nowhere produce a deal ahead of the July 15 deadline.
Njoku’s $14.2MM-per-year pact has undoubtedly generated attention from tight ends around the league, though it directly affects Schultz and Gesicki. Both are attached to the $10.91MM tight end tag price. Each has outproduced Njoku’s best Browns season, yardage-wise. A fourth-round pick in 2018, the soon-to-be 26-year-old Schultz was not groomed to be Dallas’ long-term tight end starter the way Njoku was in Cleveland. But Blake Jarwin‘s injury trouble opened the door for the Stanford product, who has responded with 1,423 yards and 12 touchdown catches over the past two seasons.
The Cowboys picked up $10MM in cap space on June 2, receiving the belated funding from their March La’el Collins cut. As a result, Dallas’ $22.5MM in cap room sits fourth in the NFL. Schultz collecting an eight-figure paycheck represents a nice bonus for a former Day 3 pick who made $2.2MM last season. It would be understandable if the Cowboys are skittish about giving Schultz an extension that tops Njoku’s, while it also makes sense for the 6-foot-5 pass catcher — after Amari Cooper‘s exit and ahead of a season in which Michael Gallup will not be 100% at the outset — to lobby for a top-five deal at the position. Schultz could also enhance his value for 2023 with a big season, as he again will be a key Dak Prescott target, if he ends up playing on the tag. Albeit in a much higher-profile situation, this strategy worked for Prescott two years ago.