Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz went from benchwarmer to a starting tight end who played well enough to highly increase his market value in free agency. For the past several weeks, the rumors and thoughts have been swirling about what the Cowboys can do about Schultz. With the third-worst amount of cap space in the NFL (-$21 million to be exact), Dallas will not be able to keep all of its free agents. Many have previously said that prioritizing names like Randy Gregory or Michael Gallup will be more important than prioritizing Schultz.
However, the news that broke on Thursday may change minds. Michael Gehlken, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, gave a concerning injury update about Blake Jarwin on Thursday. Jarwin was the Cowboys’ starting tight end until he hurt his hip in October, which put him out for much of the season. Gehlken reported that Jarwin underwent surgery that was considered “very uncommon for an active NFL player” in February. The main issue? Jarwin allegedly will not be ready to play for the start of the 2022 season.
The injured tight end presents yet another case of a Dallas player who is spending more time on the IR than on the field.
In his five years with the Cowboys, Jarwin has two one-game seasons and one eight-game season. That’s not ideal. This news makes the argument for keeping Schultz all the more important. Ahead of Gehlken’s report, many members of the media were saying that the Cowboys front office was likely not going to use the franchise tag on Schultz. Now, they may not have a choice.
The tight end tag is currently set at $10.9 million. That would be a huge blow to Dallas’s already-struggling budget. But their options are slim. They can draft a tight end, but who knows if that player will be NFL-ready by September. There are several tight ends heading into free agency, but many of their price tags are even higher than Schultz’s.
Cowboys’ Blake Jarwin injury update creates concern about tight end situation in Dallas, (Dalton Schultz?)
The Cowboys should be highly concerned about Jarwin. This hip injury comes immediately after the tight end suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. Jarwin was an undrafted free agent who seems to be incredibly injury-prone.
But, Jarwin did previously show promise. In 2018 and 2019, he played in all 32 games and had 672 yards and six touchdowns. His performance earned him a four-year, $22 million contract extension ahead of 2020. Obviously, that contract seems like yet another example of money down the toilet, given Jarwin has spent more time off the field than on it since sealing that deal.
If the Cowboys were to cut Jarwin, they would save $3.8 million and $2 million would go to dead cap. While they could still let him go due to injury concerns, unfortunately, cutting Jarwin doesn’t save the Cowboys nearly enough to make up for what it would cost to put Schultz on the franchise tag.
But cutting Amari Cooper does.
Therefore, it makes sense that, following the impending release of Cooper, keeping Schultz on the tag just got a lot more likely, and has reportedly reentered the Cowboys’ plans.
Otherwise, tight end will be a huge positional need as well.
But who saw Dallas potentially choosing both Schultz and Michael Gallup over Amari Cooper coming?