The $10.9 million is still a significant increase from Schultz’s rookie contract. It’s now the sixth highest cap hit on the team this season and the third highest of any tight end in the league. Only Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, two tight ends on the New England Patriots, carry a higher cap hit.
What Schultz is probably looking for is a deal paying him around $13-15 million, making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL (worth noting the franchise tag already makes him that this season). Besides Schultz, only Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki makes more than $10 million per season.
So, is he worth it?
Schultz has gotten better every single season. Thanks to Blake Jarwin’s torn ACL, he was used more as a pass-catcher, hauling in 63 passes for 615 yards and four touchdowns. He took the starting spot from Jarwin and never looked back, catching 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns.
Schultz is coming off a career season and now wants to cash in. As a receiving tight end, he’s gotten better in almost every aspect. The biggest criticism for him is his blocking mishaps.
While Schultz’s blocking was good last season, there were some well-documented blunders. When he lost on the line, he lost hard.
That isn’t to say he’s not a good blocker. Schultz is still a good blocking tight end. But, it can do with some improvement.
If his pass-catching skills are so valuable that we can forget his blocking, Schultz may be worth locking up long-term. However, Dallas then has to ask whether his production is just a product of the offense he’s in or not.
Having Dak Prescott at quarterback certainly makes Schultz better. The Cowboys also go to the air a lot, throwing the ball around 60 percent of the time last season. This gave Schultz more opportunities that he was able to take advantage of.
That question is a hard one to answer. Is Schultz valuable enough to make him the highest-paid tight end? Or is he expendable enough to replace? My answer would be the latter.
While Schultz’s progression has been great, he’s not an elite tight end. He may never be. Schultz won’t be the primary receiving threat this season, with that honor going to CeeDee Lamb. His blocking is good, but do you want to pay a tight end that much for his blocking?
I believe you can find another tight end that can thrive in the Cowboys’ offense. Schultz himself went from the No. 3 tight end to the starter, mostly due to circumstances as well. Who’s to say that can’t happen for anyone else?
Schultz is an asset, but he isn’t the offense's focal point. Because of that, I wouldn’t overpay for him, and I’m certainly not losing sleep over the possibility of losing him either.