NFL Free Agency Primer: Dalton Schultz

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. In the coming months, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Dalton Schultz

Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz played 2022 on the franchise tag and didn't quite have the season he hoped for. After setting career highs in catches (78), yards (808), touchdowns (8), and yards per target (7.8) in 2021, Schultz fell back down to earth in 2022, logging a 57/577/5/6.5 line. Still, he remained an effective piece on one of the league's best offenses, and he came through in the playoffs with 122 yards and three touchdowns over two games. He remains only 26 years old, and his best years could still be ahead of him.

The Fit:

At 6'5" and 244 lbs, Schultz is a big-bodied tight end with a large catch radius. He has proven he has a place in effective rushing attacks: the Cowboys finished ninth in rushing yards in 2021 and 2022. He won't radically improve a team's passing attack, but he can be a valuable, moveable chess piece on an offense that aspires to a more balanced approach.

The Cost:

Schultz played on a $10.931 million franchise tag in 2022, so it would cost the Cowboys $13.12 million to apply it again. Given his regression, that's unlikely but not impossible. He's worthy of a deal that would place him among the league's solid, if not spectacular tight ends. Something in the range of Dawson Knox's four-year, $52 million deal with the Buffalo Bills and David Njoku's four-year, $54.75 million pact with the Cleveland Browns would be appropriate.

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