Dallas can sign Dalton Schultz, its third-leading receiver last season, to a contract extension after his breakout 2021 campaign. He's set to play on a $10.9 million franchise tag for one more year before hitting free agency next offseason.
The team also could invest time in its fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin, Jake Ferguson, whose toughness and versatility could make him Dallas' tight end of the future as a potential replacement for Schultz in a Dak Prescott-led offense.
On the other side of the NFC, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and legendary quarterback Tom Brady lost one of the greatest tight ends in league history to retirement on Tuesday, as Rob Gronkowski announced he was calling it quits after 11 seasons.
With both teams in a tight squeeze, one interesting trade scenario was proposed by The Athletic Tuesday that has the Cowboys remedying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers problem at the position by sending Schultz to the NFC South in an Amari Cooper-like trade.
Here's what the site had to say about the interesting trade scenario:
It would likely take a mid-round pick to pry Schultz away from Dallas — remember, they let receiver Amari Cooper go to the Browns for a fourth-rounder and a late-round pick swap,” explains Auman. “For the Bucs to make it work cap-wise, they’d have to sign Schultz to an extension to lower his cap number. Spotrac gave him a market value of four years, $50 million this spring, so it would be another major commitment for a cap-strapped Bucs front office.
Schultz has reliable hands and catch ability, making him more of a receiver than the traditional tough-nosed pass-blocking tight ends that the league has seen in years past. If you're the Bucs, there's no replacing the do-it-all skills of Gronkowski, but it's easy to see a Brady-Schultz connection producing some impressive numbers.
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1) Why trade Schultz for a mid-round pick when the compensation for losing the 25-year-old - who in some eyes is becoming one of the league's best tight ends after posting the third-most catches (78), the sixth-most receiving yards (808), and the second-most touchdowns (eight) at his position last season - will likely be better than that via 2023 free agency?
2) If Jerry and Stephen Jones wanted to dump Schultz, why tag him?
3) If the Cowboys trade Schultz now, who takes over? The Cowboys have already lost receivers like Cooper, Cedrick Wilson, and Malik Turner this offseason. The injured Michael Gallup won't return till at least mid-season, meaning coach Mike McCarthy and coordinator Kellen Moore would have to solely rely on CeeDee Lamb and rookie Jalen Tolbert for production in the passing game should Schultz be traded.
Well, and Ferguson - a gigantic leap of faith.
If it really is Super Bowl-or-bust for the Cowboys this season, they'll go all in with Schultz and take their chances with whatever happens next offseason. That's a better plan than a "give-up'' trade, which is what this Bucs concept represents.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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