The Dallas Cowboys have had quite the rollercoaster of an offseason. Some of the lows included the team trading Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns and getting very little in return. The offensive line now has significant holes after the Cincinnati Bengals snatched up La’el Collins after the Cowboys decided they would cut him and the Miami Dolphins signed penalty-riddled guard Connor Williams. Plus, after the team website announced that he would be returning, DE Randy Gregory changed his mind at the last minute to head to Denver.
While the Cowboys have a lot of work to do to fill those gaps, this article isn’t about the losses. In this article, we want to talk about some of the victories that happened in the offseason. All four of the people we will talk about made their way back to the 2022 Dallas roster in a variety of ways. But, at the end of the day, the team will be better off due to their involvement. Let’s take a look at four people who will have a huge impact on the next season.
The 4 most important Cowboys returning for the 2022 season
4. Dalton Schultz, TE
The future of Dalton Schultz was up in the air at the beginning of February. After a breakout campaign, everyone knew that Schultz had earned himself a higher salary heading into free agency. Because the Cowboys entered the offseason with the third-worst amount of cap space (-$21 million), many assumed that Schultz would be playing in a different uniform in 2022.
People were trying to decide if he or Randy Gregory would get the franchise tag, and some analysts and insiders even reported that the Cowboys were not planning on giving Schultz the tag. This was likely due to the lofty $10.9 million price set by the NFL for tight ends. However, everything changed when a concerning update about former starting tight end Blake Jarwin hit the news. On March 3, it was reported that Jarwin would be unavailable for the start of the 2022 season after undergoing hip surgery deemed “uncommon for an NFL player.”
From there, the Cowboys were left with basically no choice. If they let Schultz walk in free agency, they would have essentially nobody at tight end. Jeremy Sprinkle, who wasn’t re-signed until last week, had three receptions in 2021. Sean McKeon had four. Five days later, the Cowboys placed the tag on Schultz.
Is the $10.9 million price tag a big one? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? Undoubtedly. In 2021 (after spending almost three years as a backup), Schultz became the second Cowboys player in franchise history aside from Jason Witten to collect over 70 receptions and 800 yards in a single season. He was a safety blanket for quarterback Dak Prescott in an otherwise challenging year.
After just 13 total receptions in his first two seasons, he amassed over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2020 and 2021. Technically, there is a way for Dallas to avoid paying the $10.9 million. If the tight end and the Joneses reach a long-term deal before July 15, they won’t have to pay him the franchise tag number. Regardless, having Schultz leading the tight-end corps is a huge sigh of relief.