It’s a fantastic feeling when your team finds a diamond in the rough. That’s what Dallas has found in 2018 fourth-round pick, Dalton Schultz.
He had the privilege of learning from future Hall of Famer Jason Witten in 2019 when he came out of retirement. The first two seasons were underwhelming for the tight end, totaling 13 catches for 122 yards and no touchdowns.
Dalton was in line to play as the backup in 2020, but Blake Jarwin tore his ACL in the Week 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. The only other competition at tight end was Blake Bell, but he is known for being a blocker.
He finished the season with 63 catches for 615 yards and five touchdowns in a season filled with injuries. That includes playing with four different quarterbacks. That’s not easy for anyone, never mind someone thrown into a starting role with limited experience.
This season, the Stanford product took another step up. Schultz eclipsed his 2020 statistics in two fewer games, and there are still three games left. That’s in part due to a more stable offense.
Regardless, Schultz has emerged as Prescott’s favorite safety net. His ability to make plays after the catch is underrated and allows the check-downs to turn into first downs.
His work as a blocker is good, but not exceptional. He is strong enough to play as the lead blocker and work in space. When you need a sure block, the team is better off turning to Jeremy Sprinkle.
Schultz is playing like a top tight end in the NFL, just behind that tier-one that includes Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and George Kittle. He is a tier-two tight end that can block and play as a receiver. His flexibility means he is in line for a big payday. Spotrac values him at a four-year deal worth $12.3 million annually, which would rank seventh in the NFL.
The Cowboys would need to figure out what to do with Blake Jarwin, who will have two years remaining on his four-year deal. Jones can opt to keep both of them, but it would be a better situation financially to keep one rather than both.