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Cowboys Face Difficult Decisions at Tight End in 2022

Many difficult decisions are ahead for the in the 2022 . One dilemma they face is at tight end, where Dalton Schultz’s puts Dallas in a tough spot with the and numerous other needs throughout the .

Schultz, a fourth-round pick in 2018, spent the first two years of his career getting table scraps on behind more tenured players like and . He also lost time and targets to fellow prospect Blake Jarwin, who despite going undrafted in 2017 was able to impress the coaches and command more attention early..

The Cowboys chose Jarwin over Schultz as Witten’s successor in 2020, giving Blake a substantial four-year contract that essentially anointed him as the starter. Unfortunately, Jarwin never got a chance to prove his worth after a torn ACL ended his year during the season opener.

Dalton Schultz took over and was surprisingly efficient and productive last year. He was one of the few positives in that disastrous 2020 campaign and then did enough to hold the starting job last year even after Jarwin’s return.

Now Schultz’s contract is up. He improved on his career numbers from 2020 with 78 catches for 808 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Dalton finished third in catches, sixth in yards, and fifth in TDs among all NFL tight eneds in 2021.

Dallas now has to decide if they want to re-sign Schultz to a new deal in the midst of difficult salary cap situation. They’re currently $13 million over the 2022 cap and have a slew of other key such as , , , , and others on top of Dalton to either retain or replace.

The issue for Schultz is that, unlike at some of the other positions threatened by departures, an acceptable Plan B may already be in place.

Is TE Blake Jarwin the Answer or Stop Gap for the Dallas Cowboys?
Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin & QB

Blake Jarwin still has two years left on the contract that Dallas gave him in 2020. And while the league’s top tight ends are generally making $14-$15 million now, Jarwin only has a $6.25 million cap hit in 2022 and $7.25 million next year.

If the Cowboys were willing to make Jarwin the starter in 2020, how easily could they make that same choice now?

Not only does Blake, still just 27 years old, give them a comfortable starting option but there’s also intrigue in backup . While Dallas would likely retain veteran Jeremy Sprinkle or bring in some other journeyman for blocking and work, McKeon has shown some receiving skills that could lead to an expanded offensive role.

This is in no way a statement against Dalton Schultz’s work these last two years or the benefit to Dallas in bringing him back. Schultz has proven to have a Witten-like knack for getting open and making clutch catches, providing a much-needed security blanket in the offense for Dak Prescott.

But really, that tends to be the TE position in general. Could Jarwin play that same role? Potentially, and he’s also shown the athleticism to perhaps be an even more dynamic weapon for Dallas and a matchup problem for opposing defenses than Dalton’s been.

The truth is that we’ve never been able to see what Blake can do as the full-time starter. But the Cowboys thought he had enough potential to hand him the job two years ago.

With Dalton Schultz now heading into free agency with a resume that should command significant attention and compensation, it may force Dallas into a tough business decision. They don’t have the cap space to bring back everyone they’d like, and Blake Jarwin’s presence may make Schultz the guy they can most afford to lose.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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10 Comments

  1. It would be ideal to keep both and get rid of unproductive wide outs like Noah Brown. Get rid of tightens McKeown and Sprinkle. Malik Turner is basically wasting time and taking a roster spit as well. Would like to see Elliott healthy and traded to Jacksonville or Houston fir a third rounder. Will still be decent running backs on the board. Pollard us ready to start. Would hate to lose him and retain a washed-up bum like Elliott! Put Anthony Brown in the “bum” category also. Tired of watching opposing recievers light him up every week.

  2. We need a good blocking TE first and an outlet valve receiver secondly. That is the role of a good tight end. Stats can be deceiving when one does not follow all the aspects of weekly game play. One dimensional players will leave the rest of their team mates vulnerable.

  3. Third in catches, sixth in yds, fifth in TDs, should be more than enough, but the OVERPAYING for UNDERACHIEVERS will keep this team from getting to the ultimate goal, AND possibly from retaining good players like DS.

    Side note, watching these OTHER Post Season QBs performing at a much higher level than our current QB, is really quite sobering.

  4. Very easy to say trade Jarwin and keep Schultz. There are salary cap implications on keeping Schultz. As much as I would like for him to stay, he is gone. Cowboys will not afford to keep him. Too many unsigned players and grotesque contracts to Dak and Zeke. Again, bad decisions by Mr Jones will come back and haunt the team.

  5. The GM is now facing the reality of over paying Prescott and Elliott. That situation will continue to impede composing a competent, experienced team for several years. Maybe a SB contender in 7 to 8 years is a realistic projection.

    • your exactly right thats why they need to get rid of Elliott he is not that good and he is way over payed and Dak needs to stop being a crybaby and help his team out by lowing his money cost to its so sad to see such a good team about to turn bad because they don’t have the money to get all these people back

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