Former Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Texans. According to NFL Insider Tom Pelissero, the deal could be worth up to $9 million if Schultz meets certain incentives. It wasn't what he'd hoped for in free agency.
Consider that Schultz played on a franchise tag for Dallas last year of $10.9 million. Then add in this report from Albert Breer that claims Schultz was offered a three-year, $36 million dollar contract last year to stay in Dallas.
It all adds up to one conclusion: Schultz bet on himself and lost. Huge. His agent has some explaining to do.
SCHULTZ CHOSE POORLY
He and his team clearly misread the market coming off the 2021 season. Schultz posted some impressive numbers – 78 receptions, 808 yards and eight touchdowns – and if Breer's reporting is accurate, that was the time to strike.
But they didn't. They turned down $12 million a year and played for a little under $11 million looking for the big payday after 2022.
But this past season saw Schultz miss two games and finish with lower numbers. Just 57 catches for 577 yards and five scores.
Did Prescott's absence hurt those numbers? Probably. But there were other factors that account for his down year.
The emergence of Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot made parting ways with Schultz a little easier to accept at The Star. Schultz's play in the divisional round playoff loss to the 49ers didn't help his cause either.
While he did catch the Cowboys' only touchdown, he made two blunders that drew the ire of Cowboys' fans. The first was failing to get out of bounds and stop the clock on the final drive. The offense lost 14 seconds off the clock because he was driven backwards out of bounds.
The final nail in the coffin was his lack of hustle, not getting his second foot down on a catch on the final drive. It appeared he had plenty of time to do so and didn't make any effort to do it either.
Given those factors, his time in Dallas was clearly over. But they also likely contributed to the lack of interest he drew from other teams. Just a week into free agency, Schultz has gone from the top tight end on the market to taking scraps from the Texans' table.
It is clear Schultz bet big and lost. As mentioned above, his agent and advisors who possibly told him to turn down the Cowboys' offer last year have some explaining to do.
A year to reset his market
He might, depending on exactly what they said at the time, be considering a change in his representation going forward. Because they have put him in a bad situation to be sure.
He is going from a team that's been making all the right moves toward being a serious contender to a team in rebuilding mode. His quarterback is likely going to be a rookie. He'll have a first-year head coach and a brand-new system being installed for the entire team.
Schultz is going to have to somehow navigate all of that to get back to his 2021 numbers and hopefully strike gold in free agency next year. In all likelihood, he's going to be seeing that missed $36 million contract in his nightmares for a long time to come.
As for the Cowboys, they saved a lot of money to fill other needs, can draft another TE, and will pick up a comp pick from the Texans. Where Schultz rolled snake eyes, Dallas just rolled a seven on the come out roll.