3 free agent tight ends Cowboys can sign if Dalton Schultz leaves

Cowboys, Hayden Hurst. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cowboys, Hayden Hurst. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Cowboys, Irv Smith, Jr.
Vikings, Irv Smith, Jr. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

1. Irv Smith, Jr.

The first two options listed would be good as one-year starters while the Cowboys groomed their younger corps. As for this last player, he would make sense as a long-term option — should they decide to go this route.

Irv Smith, Jr. was a standout at Alabama due to his precise route-running and impressive speed for a tight end. He ran a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash leading up to the draft, but his playing speed seemed to be even quicker.

Dallas was linked to Smith during the 2019 NFL Draft as they were still looking for a replacement for Jason Witten before re-signing Jason Witten, but without a pick in Round 1, they never had a shot. Smith was gone at No. 50 as the Minnesota Vikings brought him in and the Cowboys added defensive tackle Trysten Hill.

Hill wound up being a bust but it was probably for the best that Smith was gone because he likely would have been one more good player they passed on in order to draft a backup from UCF with maturity issues.

But I digress…Smith went on to serve as a solid No. 2 tight end in the Vikings’ offense and put up at least 30 receptions and 300 yards in each of his first two seasons. He was then expected to do big things in 2021 but a torn meniscus led to him missing the entire season. He then had an ankle injury that cost him nine games this past year.


Even with the recent injuries, Smith would be well worth adding to the roster. He’s a sure-handed receiver with NFL bloodlines. He’s also a better blocker than he gets credit for — although that matters much less under Mike McCarthy than it did Jason Garrett. Thankfully.

Dallas would likely want to sign Smith to a one-year “prove-it” deal but if that works out, the two sides could look to make the relationship last much longer.