Falcons Free Agent Targets 2023: Dalton Schultz

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The Falcons are set to have around $56 million in cap space this offseason, and that figure could quickly balloon to nearly $70 million if Atlanta parts ways with Marcus Mariota. There isn’t a single position group that doesn’t need top-end talent or depth. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith are entering a critical juncture in their tenure with more cap space than ever. This continues a series of potential Falcons free agent targets, moving on to Dalton Schultz. Below are past editions:

Falcons Free Agent Targets 2023: Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz or any other high-profile tight end will always be a divisive topic for the Falcons. On the one hand, Atlanta’s offense already features Kyle Pitts, who will eventually demand a market-setting deal. Allocating a large amount of cap space to the tight end position isn’t exactly the recipe for sustainable success.

On the other hand, Arthur Smith has shown an ability to get the absolute most of the position. So, if he has elite talent like Pitts and Schultz, he’ll be able to scheme matchups all day long out of tight end-heavy sets. Schultz is a different player than Pitts. He’s much more reliable as a run blocker and thrives in finding soft spots in zone coverage but doesn’t threaten after the catch as much.

He didn’t have an overwhelming season due to a slow start, but he eventually turned it on. From PFF’s free agent profile: “From Week 7 to Week 12, his 83.5 grade ranked third among tight ends, including a 76.8 receiving grade and an 82.5 run-blocking grade to go along with 2.11 yards per route run (fourth), 230 receiving yards (fifth), three contested catches (tied fourth) and three touchdowns (fifth).”

Depending on his prospective numbers, I could be talked into it. Spotrac market value has Schultz earning just north of $15 million per year over four years. And PFF projects the former fourth-round pick to ink a four-year, $58 million contract ($14.5 million per year), with $36 million guaranteed.

He’s had several impressively clutch catches over the years for the Cowboys, but that’s a lot of money to hand a player who isn’t elite at his position. There is a chance that the personnel flexibility unlocks a different level of Arthur Smith’s offense. Sometimes, NFL offenses could go heavy on tight ends rather than receivers because they kind of group them as pass catchers. The 49ers and Ravens are two teams, in particular, that value skill positions differently than many others.

Photographer: Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire

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