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NFL - US Sports: Schultz playing hardball with Cowboys

Frustrated by how far apart he and the Dallas Cowboys are over the terms of a new long-term deal, Dalton Schultz has chosen to sit out the remainder of OTAs in a protest that could run through the summer.

The Cowboys, 23/20 to win the NFC East, used their franchise tag on Schultz back in March to keep him from hitting the open market in free agency, but they don't seem willing to pay anything like the amount the 25-year-old feels is his true value.

No leverage for Schultz

The tight end signed the one-year, $10.93 million deal that went with the tag, which has reduced any leverage he has in the current negotiations and means he could be subjected to some expensive fines if he holds out of the team's mandatory minicamp in late July.

The deadline for the Cowboys to tie Schultz down to a long-term agreement is ten days before their preseason preparations get really serious, so there is still time for both sides to work something out.

But, what could be potentially irksome to Schultz is that the Cleveland Browns, who applied their franchise tag to fellow tight end David Njoku this year, have already stumped up for a four-year, $54.75 million contract that would seem to be way beyond the limit of the Cowboys' intentions for him.

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Schultz has been far more productive than Njoku over the past two seasons (735 more receiving yards and six more touchdowns since 2020) and is likely to be the top target for Cowboys' quarterback Dak Prescott heading into 2022.

Prescott himself found Dallas' front office to be tough negotiators prior to his four-year, $160 million deal being agreed last September and that follows for a number of other current Cowboys stars such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott and Randy Gregory.

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