Dalton Schultz Landing Spots: Dolphins, Chargers, Bengals and Jaguars could all be options

What are the potential landing spots for Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz as he is set to become a free agent in 2022?

After another impressive season, what are the potential landing spots for Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz as he becomes a free agent this offseason? Let’s take a look at how Schultz has performed the last two seasons, the type of contract he could expect, and his potential landing spots this offseason.

Dalton Schultz’s free-agent stock

After a low-key start to his career, things have exploded for Schultz. A fourth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, he had just 19 targets, 13 receptions, and 122 yards through his first two seasons. But over the past two years, Schultz has been fantastic with 124 receptions, 1,266 receiving yards, and 9 touchdowns on 171 targets.

During the last two seasons, Schultz ranks seventh among tight ends in yards and fifth in receptions. Additionally, he has not missed a single contest, a testament to his durability playing a tough position.

It will be intriguing to see what type of market evolves for Schultz. Spotrac has Schultz projected for a potential four-year contract worth around $12 million per year. That is comparable to the type of contract signed by Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith last offseason. That value seems about right for Schultz, given his productivity at a position where it’s hard to find top-tier talent.

Dallas Goedert has been a more consistent producer over four seasons, but in the last two years, Schultz has outperformed him. Yet, Goedert just signed a four-year deal worth $14.25 million. With a strong finish to the year, Schultz could come close to Goedert’s contract in free agency.

Dalton Schultz’s landing spots

Let’s take a look at which teams might be in the market for the talented tight end.

The Los Angeles Chargers will likely be in the tight end market this offseason

The Chargers added Jared Cook as a stop-gap tight end option after Hunter Henry departed in free agency last offseason. However, Cook is not likely to be a long-term starter, so Los Angeles needs to add someone to be a weapon for QB Justin Herbert.

They could wait for the draft, or they could re-sign Cook. However, Cook is catching just 57.7% of his targets this season. This Chargers team is right on the verge of challenging and could benefit from adding a weapon like Schultz. With a projected $72.8 million in cap space, they also have the resources to make it work.

The Miami Dolphins could replace Mike Gesicki with Schultz

The Dolphins have their own tight end decision to make with Mike Gesicki set to be a free agent this offseason. When we look to Pro Football Network’s Offensive Value Metric, which grades players based on their performance on metrics within control, there is a big discrepancy in the performances of Gesicki and Schultz.

OVM grades Gesicki as adding the third-least amount of value to his offense at the tight end position. Meanwhile, Schultz grades among the top 10 at the position. With Gesicki and Schultz likely to command a similar market, the Dolphins might very well be better off letting Gesicki walk and signing Schultz as a free agent.

The Jacksonville Jaguars also have the cap space to get into the tight end market

It will be interesting to see how the Jaguars approach the tight end position this offseason. They traded for Dan Arnold in-season and signed Chris Manhertz prior to the 2021 campaign. However, both of those will be free agents in 2023, and Luke Farrell might not be ready to be the lead tight end even then. Therefore, Schultz could be in play to give Trevor Lawrence another reliable weapon at the position.

The Jaguars might decide they don’t need to approach the position quite yet with Arnold under contract. However, with just over $70 million in cap space this offseason, they could provide Lawrence with a new weapon, especially if they cannot land a true WR1 in free agency.

Schultz could add more firepower to the Cincinnati Bengals offense

Much like with the Dolphins, the Bengals will have a decision on what to do with their own tight end, C.J. Uzomah. He is another TE who is projected by Spotrac to be valued at around $10 million per year.

Uzomah actually grades out as a more valuable weapon within his environment than Schultz this season. Yet, Schultz’s numbers and durability place him above Uzomah as a weapon right now. The Bengals have the cap space to invest in a tight end, and it will be interesting to see how they value a guy who has been in their system against what could be one of the top tight ends in free agency.

Would the Indianapolis Colts look to further improve their offense by adding Schultz?

In Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr., the Colts have two key offensive pieces in place. Now, they need to find a secondary WR and manage more consistency at tight end. Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox have done reasonable jobs, but they are not all-around weapons at the position.

Thus, with the Colts having more than $57 million in projected cap space, they may decide that adding a do-it-all-type TE would be a good value. The first focus for the Colts will likely be their offensive line and their defense. That could rule them out of the Schultz market, as spending $10 million or more on a tight end might be considered a luxury addition.

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