The Jacksonville Jaguars have been looking for a bonafide receiving tight end since becoming an NFL franchise back in 1995. They've had a couple of quality starters at the position throughout the years but never a consistently impactful option in the passing game.
The most talented pass-catching tight end on the current roster, Dan Arnold, was acquired via trade during the 2021 season. He proved to be an effective weapon for rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, catching 28 passes for 328 yards in eight games for the Jags. He hauled in 68% of his targets and was effective in the screen game, as a seam stretcher, and on targets in the intermediate middle of the field and to the boundary. While Arnold was impressive as a receiver, he's limited at just 220-pounds.
New head coach Doug Pederson has had a ton of success utilizing multiple pass-catching options at the tight end position throughout his career. With that in mind, adding another playmaking tight end to the roster seems like a no-brainer. Luckily for the Jaguars, it appears to be a good year to need a tight end, with several talented upcoming free agents and a deep draft class.
Pro Football Focus predicts the Jaguars will land Cowboys' tight end Dalton Schultz in free agency. He's their explanation:
Prediction: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Four years, $52 million ($32.5 million guaranteed)
Schultz had a huge year for the Cowboys and was a reliable weapon in the passing game, especially when Amari Cooper and Gallup missed time. Schultz had the third-best wins above replacement (WAR) at the TE position and the seventh-highest receiving grade amongst TEs (77.0). Going to the Jaguars would be a huge help for Trevor Lawrence, as it would provide him with a reliable safety blanket over the middle, which he lacked in his rookie year.
I'm on board with this move. Schultz is a dynamic tight end, who excels in-line and from the slot. He can block, and more importantly, make big plays in the passing game for his quarterback. Schultz hauled in 75% of his targets in 2021, racking up 78 catches for 808 yards and eight scores. He isn't an elite athlete at the position, but he is a very good one. At just 25-years-old, Schultz should have at least a handful of productive years in front of him.
Pairing Schultz and Arnold with Trevor Lawrence makes too much sense. Doug Pederson saw how helpful two quality receiving tight ends could be for a young quarterback during his time in Philly, and choosing to replicate that in Jax seems like a no-brainer. Of course, Dallas might try to keep Schultz around, and even if they don't, he'll have a bevy of suitors. The Jaguars should be able to outbid their competition (within reason) for the talented ascending tight end. Landing a key piece to the offense who can play all three downs and contribute in more ways than one is easy money for Doug P and the Jags.
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