Saturday, August 13, 2022

Dalton Schultz contract dispute: Cowboys still not close to agreement on long-term deal with veteran TE

With the holiday weekend now in the rearview, the Dallas Cowboys begin turning their eyes to training camp in late July, but there is still one large bit of business that has yet to be resolved. Dalton Schultz, the team’s resident starting tight end, remains without a longterm deal on Tuesday morning, and sources tell CBS Sports there is nothing imminent on that front — the two still far apart on what they feel the deal should look like.  

The two sides have until July 15 to hash it all out, but there hasn’t been any fruitful communication on that front over the past several weeks. As it stands, the last meaningful discussions were had in mid-June, but with only three days remaining to the NFL deadline, there would need to be a Hail Mary by either Schultz, the Cowboys or both to avoid seeing him play the 2022 season under the franchise tag. 

Having already signed said tag months ago, Schultz is guaranteed to be in uniform and to earn $10.931 million this coming season.

It goes without saying that there is still time for fireworks to be launched by the Cowboys in their ongoing talks with Schultz, because deadlines do sometimes make deals, but none of the wicks have been lit yet, and time is officially short. The lack of overall progress has so frustrated Schultz that after initially reporting to voluntary OTAs, he pulled an about-face and sat out the back half of those practices in not-so-silent protest against his lack of a new deal and any offer he at least deemed palatable. 

Talks re-engaged thereafter, but again stalled.

Schultz went on to report to mandatory minicamp, also avoiding possible fines in the process (though head coach Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys ultimately wound up shrinking their usual three-day minicamp to just one day). But, for his part, McCarthy can only wait to see how it all unfolds with Schultz — comforted by the fact his starting tight end will, at minimum, be on the field for the 2022 season. 

“Business is business, and I’m in the business of winning football games,” McCarthy said in June. “We all have contracts. We all have these types of situations that they come about. Timing obviously plays into these decisions and transactions. Now, as a head coach, it takes you a few years to get used to it, but I think you have to learn to separate things in this world. 

“Dalton deserves this position that he’s in. So hopefully we can get it worked out.”

The Cowboys aren’t negotiating from a position of desperation this summer — Schultz having signed his tag combined with the presence of promising upstart Sean McKeon and the addition of rookie fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson in April — so it remains to be seen if they’ll ultimately acquiesce to whatever high-end salary Schultz is seeking. They’re likely content to simply let it all play out in 2022 and revisit the situation in the offseason to come, having more data on Ferguson and McKeon to sift through as well at that point.

That is unless it’s Schultz who does the acquiescing, but the clock is ticking on this staredown. 

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