NY Jets free-agent target Dalton Schultz NOT expected to be tagged

NY Jets, Dalton Schultz
NY Jets, Dalton Schultz / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets are expected to be in the market for a tight end this offseason, and perhaps the top available name on the free-agent market is expected to be Dalton Schultz.

The Dallas Cowboys tight end put together a career year in 2021 and has broken out as one of the more productive tight ends in football. As such, many believed the Cowboys would do everything possible not to let him walk this offseason.

But with Dallas strapped for cap space, they may not be able to afford their rising star tight end. FanSided's Matt Lombardo reported on Tuesday that the Cowboys aren't expected to use the franchise tag on Schultz.

As Lombardo noted, the Cowboys are currently $21 million over the salary cap meaning that a $10.9 cap hit from tagging Schultz would be difficult to fit on the books.

Even still, this news comes as somewhat of a surprise given that most assumed the Cowboys would find a way to make it work. But sometimes the salary cap is too restricting. This appears to be one of those instances.

The NY Jets could target Dalton Schultz in free agency

The Cowboys' loss could be the Jets' gain, however. Schultz would be a perfect free-agent target for the Jets who have been searching for a true starting-caliber tight end for over a decade now.

Schultz is just 25-years-old and is coming off of two highly productive seasons. His first year as a starter came in 2020 when he hauled in 63 catches for 615 yards and four touchdowns as one of Dallas' breakout stars that year.

But Schultz took his game to a new level in 2021 finishing with 78 catches for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. Among NFL tight ends, he ranked third in catches, sixth in yards, and fifth in touchdowns.

He was arguably a top-five tight end in football this past season, and at such a young age with little injury history to speak of (he hasn't missed a game since his rookie season), the former Stanford star is a perfect target for Joe Douglas and the Jets.

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If Dalton Schultz does, indeed, hit the open market, the Jets should jump at the opportunity.