The Dallas Cowboys have bought themselves time. By placing the franchise tag on Dalton Schultz, the Cowboys have essentially kicked the can on their decision regarding the future of their current TE1.
Is he a special player they rely on to succeed or is he a replaceable part who’s been extremely productive in the role he’s been given? The answer here will determine whether or not the Dallas Cowboys re-sign him long-term or let him walk as a free agent in 2023.
The best way for the Dallas Cowboys to develop the future is by leaning on their young TE prospects early.
The replaceability of Dalton Schultz depends largely on the replacements, wouldn’t you say? With Blake Jarwin no longer in the picture, the Cowboys only have Sean McKeon and Jake Ferguson as viable replacements.
Sure, Jeremy Sprinkle is here and so is Ian Bunting and Peyton Hendershot, but no one expects any of them to ascend to the top ranks like Schultz once did. Realistically, the only players who look like possible top-2 TEs are McKeon and Ferguson so let’s focus on those two.
The deadline to re-sign Dalton Schultz is just roughly two weeks away so a decision will have to be made before training camp even starts. And my guess is, a decision has already been made, but I digress…
If the Dallas Cowboys think they can develop Ferguson and/or McKeon, they need to aggressively start the grooming process now. They need first team snaps in training camp and they need a hefty workload during the regular season.
What we don’t want is to franchise Dalton Schultz a second time or feel obligated to re-sign him simply because there are no viable alternatives on the roster. We also don’t want to roll into a draft with TE1 as a top need or we could see the Cowboys do something foolish in the 2023 NFL Draft.
2022 is about 2023 as much as it is about the current season. The Cowboys know full-well there are going to be growing pains as they onboard and reshuffle. The moves they made this season are not expected to be seamless. So what better time than 2022 than to develop the young TEs to replace Schultz in 2023?
Dalton Schultz still needs the bulk of the snaps, don’t get me wrong. And the Cowboys naturally rotate TEs in goal line and12 personnel sets, but I’m suggesting a bigger split with some 11-personnel snaps going to the young guys as well.
For sure but better earlier than later and if it prevents the Cowboys from doubling down on Schultz when they really don’t want to, then it’s well worth it.
In an effort to have a better 2023, the Dallas Cowboys should focus on developing their young replacement TEs this season and it all starts in training camp.