Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz says healthy Dak Prescott big for team's offseason development

FRISCO, Texas -- A year ago, Dak Prescott was in the middle of a rigorous rehab from a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle suffered in Week 5 of the 2020 season. While the Dallas Cowboys' offseason program officially started Monday, Prescott has already gotten plenty of work with his skill players.

Fully recovered from offseason surgery to his left (non-throwing) shoulder, Prescott has held numerous throwing sessions.

"I think it's super important anytime that you can throw with your quarterback," tight end Dalton Schultz said. "It's invaluable, I think. You almost can't get enough of it, and I think that's where he's at with his health and everything compared to last year when he was still in rehab. We've had ample opportunities to get out on the field, throw with guys and just kind of start that process back up. Yeah, we're definitely ahead of where we were last year."

For Schultz, the offseason began by him signing the $10.9 million franchise tag, a big bump after making roughly $4.4 million his first four seasons, but he would like to work out a multiyear agreement.

"I think it was a good start. Obviously, sometimes the franchise tag can be seen in a different light, but I was happy that I was going to be back," Schultz said. "This is the place I want to be. I love being here. I love this organization, so I was grateful that I was able to at least be back here for a year. I want to work out a long-term deal, and I think they do too. So hopefully we can get that done, but just knowing here is where I'm going to be for the next year, I'm happy with."

The Cowboys and Schultz have until July 15 to work out a deal or he has to play on the tag and he would become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He said he will let his agent, Steve Caric, handle the negotiations and provide updates.

"Just trying to be patient," Schultz said.

In 2021, Schultz joined Jason Witten as the only tight ends in team history to record at least 70 catches for 800 yards and eight touchdowns in the same season, finishing with 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns.

He said his goal is to add 5 to 6 pounds to his frame to help block the bigger defensive ends, and he has been at The Star for the informal captains' workouts that began last month. With the trade of Amari Cooper, Schultz could be in for a larger role on the offense.

"We're a better offense with [Cooper]," Schultz said. "Unfortunately, we don't have him, and so I think the next step is having guys step up. I think there's room to grow in a bunch of other aspects of the game."

After finishing 12-5 and winning the NFC East, the Cowboys' season ended with a disappointing wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium.

"Everybody knows what the goal is. That's something we talk about as often as we can," Schultz said. "Maybe at the end of a lift, everybody brings it up and wants to break it down and some guy will just say a few words. Obviously, that's at the forefront of our minds is a championship for this organization, and I believe that starts in the offseason. So whether it'll be working out on your own or working out in the facility, you're competing with yourself in the offseason, and I think that's going to pay dividends for us in the upcoming year."