This 2023 FA target could replace Dalton Schultz on Cowboys

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys appear to be heading towards a gradual divorce with top tight end Dalton Schultz. After emerging as a viable pass catcher despite coming into the NFL with paltry receiving production at Stanford, Schultz has quickly become a linchpin. He’s earned a long-term deal, but Dallas can’t agree with him on the price.

The Cowboys could not come to a long-term extension with Schultz. While he will likely play the 2022 season on the franchise tag, this development does not bode well for the prospects of keeping him long-term. Schultz might price the Cowboys out of a reunion.

The Cowboys could look to draft a replacement, but Jerry Jones may decide to bring in a veteran to occupy such an important role in Kellen Moore’s offense. Dallas could save money by letting Schultz walk and signing a proven talent to fill the hole that he vacated.

Austin Hooper, who signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans this offseason, is looking to show that he can still be an elite receiving tight end. If he proves himself next to Ryan Tannehill, the Cowboys should be all over him as a potential Schultz replacement.

Could Austin Hooper replace Dalton Schultz on the Dallas Cowboys?

While Hooper spent the last two years getting average production with the Browns, it’s important to consider the context. Kevin Stefanski using tons of multiple tight-end sets made for increased competition, and the regression of Baker Mayfield certainly didn’t do him any favors.

In the two seasons prior to his Browns excursion, Hooper was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Falcons who recorded nearly 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 29 games. A solid blocker, Hooper still has plenty of good football left in the tank if he can fix his issues with dropping the ball.

Still just 28 years old, a year in Tennessee could be perfect for Hooper. If he shows that his blocking has not eroded and Tannehill uses the tight ends as much in the passing game as he used to, he could rehabilitate his standing within the league to a point where Dallas offers him.

The Cowboys need to prioritize getting a deal done with Schultz before looking elsewhere, but Hooper would be a very promising backup plan that could keep this offense rolling.

Dallas can’t afford to get cheap on weapons when Prescott is in his prime.