Dalton Schultz will play the 2022 campaign on the one-year franchise tag, but the Dallas Cowboys are optimistic about locking up the veteran tight end on a long-term deal after the season.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told reporters Tuesday:
"We tried. It wasn't that we weren't necessarily talking about a long-term deal. . . . Sometimes it's just when you're getting your hands around what this team is not only going to look like this year but look like in the future, then you have to play that hand that way. I certainly understand where Dalton's coming from. He represents everything we want in a Dallas Cowboy, on and off the field. . . . He's an available player who plays at a high level.
“So it's not that we didn't want him on a long-term deal. It's just about getting to the right answer on that, and I think we ultimately will. I think Dalton's going to be a long-term Cowboy here.
"It just didn't work out to get the long-term part of that figured out this time around.”
Schultz and the Cowboys failed to agree to an extension before the July 15 deadline, so he will play the 2022 season on the franchise tag worth $10.9 million.
The Cowboys selected Schultz in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. While he didn't have much of an impact in his first two seasons, he has improved in each of the last two years.
During the 2020 campaign, Schultz caught 63 passes for 615 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games. He had a breakout 2021 season, catching 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns in 17 games.
The Stanford product also impressed in Dallas' playoff loss last season, catching seven passes on eight targets for 89 yards.
With the departure of wide receivers Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns and Cedrick Wilson Jr. to the Miami Dolphins, Schultz could be in for more targets in 2022 alongside wide receivers CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and James Washington.
The 26-year-old reiterated his desire to remain in Dallas while speaking with reporters in April, so it would be no surprise to see the two sides come to an agreement once the 2022 season comes to a close:
"Obviously, I think this is the place that I want to be. I've got a good rapport with a lot of the guys here. I love being here. I love this organization.
"I was grateful that I was able to at least come back here for a year. I want to work out a long-term deal and I think they do too -- hopefully we can get that done. But just knowing where I'm going to be for the next year, I'm happy with."