We still have a few weeks to go before training camps open across the National Football League, but there is a deadline of sorts right around the corner. Teams and players who are dealing with franchise tag situations have until Friday, July 15th at 1 pm ET to negotiate a long-term deal or else the franchise tag locks in. From an experience standpoint we know this back-and-forth all too well thanks to how often the Dallas Cowboys have used the tag lately on DeMarcus Lawrence and Dak Prescott.
It was Dalton Schultz who the Cowboys tagged this offseason, a situation that became a bit unconventional for players who have gone down this path. Schultz initially signed the tag which meant he had a contract for the upcoming season, but after showing up to part of voluntary activities he decided to forego the rest of them due to dissatisfaction over how negotiations were going.
Which brings us to where we are today.
NFL insider says the possibility is still open for the Dallas Cowboys and Dalton Schultz to strike a long-term deal
Obviously the Cowboys and Schultz have less than a week to come to agreeable terms or they will not be able to until next offseason. The team clearly values Schultz to a degree but has been reluctant to make long-term commitments to players who they do not view as franchise cornerstones.
Complicating matters for the Cowboys is the deal that the Cleveland Browns gave to tight end David Njoku. Cleveland gave Njoku a four-year deal worth $56.75M (an average north of $14M per year) which is now a factor for Schultz to use as a point of reference.
Beyond the financial details is the time commitment involved here. The Browns gave their tight end (who was also given the franchise tag this offseason by the way) a four-year deal and the Cowboys famously love contracts of a five-year variety.
On Friday afternoon, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo touched on the contract length part in discussing the Schultz situation and noted that he personally is still leaving the possibility open for a long-term deal to happen here.
From @NFLTotalAccess: With a week to go for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term deals, we assessed where they stand now. The #Cowboys and TE Dalton Schultz will make another run at it, while the #Dolphins and TE Mike Gesicki haven’t exchanged offers of late. pic.twitter.com/nmhXkgtezX— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 9, 2022
At present time Over The Cap lists the Cowboys with the third-most salary cap space in the NFL, incidentally one of the teams in front of them is the Browns. An argument can certainly be made that signing Schultz to a contract of this variety might not be the best decision that this team can make but they have the resources to be active which has been the rallying cry of detractors over the last few months.
Time will tell whether or not things happen here. Deadlines make deals.