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Blake Jarwin vs. Dalton Schultz: The Cowboys tight end competition should be interesting

It’s not as clear-cut as we might think for the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When it cones to the Cowboys offense, they have some of the league’s top players at most positions. The Cowboys receiving corps, mainly their top three, are recognized as battling to be the best in football. Ezekiel Elliott, even after a down year, still has the skills to be among the best at his position. With Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins, the offensive line certainly has quality. Even Dak Prescott, who generates much debate, is generally considered as at least a Top 10 quarterback.

But at tight end, the Cowboys don’t have the same recognition. For example, when Bleacher Report selected the best-kept secret on each team, they went with tight end Dalton Schultz for Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys could have the league’s best passing offense in 2021. Quarterback Dak Prescott is expected to be back after last year’s season-ending ankle injury, and the receiving corps is loaded with talent.

While Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup highlight the group, tight end Dalton Schultz is an underrated contributor who could be on his way to stardom.

A fourth-round pick in 2018, Schultz saw his career get off to an inauspicious start. The Stanford product had just 13 receptions in his first two seasons before exploding in 2020. Last year, Schultz caught 63 passes for 615 yards and four touchdowns.

When targeted, he helped provide a quarterback rating of 95.5.

If Prescott can remain healthy and the Dallas offensive line can rebound from its 2020 injury issues, the offense will be difficult to stop. Schultz will be a big part of it, even if he hasn’t garnered a ton of attention yet.

Schultz did kind of surprise most in 2020 when he became an actual weapon after starter Blake Jarwin went down. What is interesting is the write up above doesn’t even mention Jarwin who is the presumptive starter in 2021. But how will this actually shake out?

Jarwin is coming back from an ACL tear. Sure, it happened early in the season (Week 1 to be specific), so he has already had plenty of time to recover. The company line will be that he is fully recovered, but returns from ACL’s are notoriously different for each player. Sometimes it takes a whole extra season before a player is totally right.

And it’s not like Jarwin was consistently tearing things up before his injury. The Cowboys gave him a relatively large contract (starter’s money) based on potential more than anything. Jarwin’s best year statistically was 2019 with 365 yards and three touchdowns. And it seems like most of that success comes when the Cowboys play the New York Giants.

Schultz, on the other hand, put together a very consistent 2020 that ended up with 615 yards and four touchdowns. That is even better when considering that Dallas sent out four different quarterbacks on the year and Prescott only made it through four full games. On an offense that struggled at times, Schultz proved to be a steady presence.

Of course, contracts play a role here. The Cowboys are paying Jarwin starter money, but their commitment to him only runs through the 2021 season. Technically he is signed through 2023, but the Cowboys can effectively get out of the contract after this year. Schultz is in a contract year and will be fighting for a bigger contract after the season.

It sets up a decent competition at tight end. Who do you think will end up with more catches/TDs among Jarwin and Schultz?