The Cowboys still have Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot on the roster, and continue to be linked to first-round tight ends in the draft.
Schultz finished second among all Cowboys last season in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, while playing out 2022 on a $10.9 million franchise tag. A second tag this year would have cost Dallas over $13 million, and some estimates had predicted an average annual salary for the former fourth-round pick of $15 million.
Previous reports suggested that the Cowboys had offered the Stanford product a three-year, $36 million deal that he declined, but Schultz’s agent released a statement on Twitter on Monday calling that development “100% inaccurate.”
In the end, Schultz settled for considerably less.
Schultz’s departure seemed to have been a foregone conclusion for the Cowboys, who saw good production from rookies Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot last season and used this year’s franchise tag instead on running back Tony Pollard.
Dallas could still supplement with a tight end in this year’s draft; several outlets have mocked Dalton Kincaid out of Utah to the Cowboys in the first round.
2 signings that would give Cowboys perfect offseason after Brandin Cooks trade - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat
The Cowboys still have room to improve along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball this offseason.
2. Justin Pugh, OL
Pictured above is Pugh winning a rep against Aaron Donald. Do we need to say anything else? In all seriousness, the Cowboys need interior offensive line help after Connor McGovern signed with Buffalo early on in free agency.
Dallas obviously has Tyler Smith to play left guard in McGovern’s wake, but that doesn’t solve their Terence Steele predicament. Coming off a torn ACL, Steele is expected to be ready for training camp, but it would be shortsighted to pencil him into the Week 1 starting lineup.
If the Cowboys move Tyron Smith to right tackle, where he played exclusively after returning from injury late in the 2022 season, and the younger Smith to right tackle until Steele is ready, that creates a hole at left guard.
Could Dallas simply draft a guard early? Sure, but that wouldn’t change the fact they’re short on bodies on the interior. Pugh has started 119 of 120 games in his career, and has played both guard positions, an even a little right tackle.
Pro Football Focus projects Pugh to get a one-year, $2.05 million deal with $1.23 million guaranteed. It wouldn’t be a splash signing by any means, but the importance of having offensive line depth cannot be understated and Pugh has a long track record of delivering viable interior OL play in his career.
Dan Quinn knows how to get the most out of a defensive line.
They made enough space to hold onto Hankins and someone like Carlos Watkins.
When diving into who is left in the free agent pool, the name that stands out is Calais Campbell. He was released from the Baltimore Ravens last week. 36 years of age, but could still give the Cowboys a solid year or two.
The team will most likely not look at him, but maybe someone else. This could also be a position they look to address in the draft.
With the two other needs addressed via trade, this team can now look to add depth and spend the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft on the best defensive linemen left on the board.
We have offseason long snapper news!
Veteran deep snapper Jake McQuaide, a player the Cowboys wanted to bring back, will be joining the Detroit Lions on a 1-year deal, reportedly worth $1.3 million.
The 35-year-old snapper joined the Cowboys in 2021 after a 10-year stint with the Rams, playing mostly for special teams coordinator John Fassel, who is now overseeing the Cowboys’ kicking game. Last season, McQuaide suffered a torn triceps injury four games into the regular season, prompting the Cowboys to sign veteran Matt Overton, who was more than serviceable to finish the year.
Last week, the Cowboys lost Luke Gifford, who led the team in special teams tackles in 2022, to a free-agent deal with the Titans. Also, wide receiver Noah Brown signed with the Texans, after a six-year stint with the Cowboys where he was a core member of the special teams.
Now, the Cowboys did re-sign C.J. Goodwin, who led the team in special teams tackles for three years before Gifford ended the streak last season.
NFL Division-by-Division Rankings After 1st Week of 2023 Free Agency - David Kenyon, Bleacher Report
The NFC East went from one of the worst divisions in 2021 to the best in 2022, and doesn’t appear to be getting any easier in the near future.
3. NFC East
After demanding the “best division” label in 2022, the NFC East’s fall is more a matter of two projected ascents.
Once again, it won’t be particularly fun to navigate this quartet.
Philadelphia has lost a few major contributors, including Hargrave, Edwards, Marcus Epps, Miles Sanders and C.J. Gardner-Johnson. There is no denying the roster will have a different look next season.
Still, the Eagles are set to return a majority of their electric offense—including veteran center Jason Kelce—re-signed cornerback James Bradberry and have extended Darius Slay.
Elsewhere in the division, the Dallas Cowboys wisely—even if uncomfortably—released Ezekiel Elliott and traded for Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are staying with the New York Giants, who added Parris Campbell and Darren Waller. Daron Payne signed an extension with the Washington Commanders.
The NFC East likely won’t have three playoff teams in 2023.
Based on the current rosters, though, the division should have a high-end contender with three respectable chasers.
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