The 2024 offseason comes with many question marks for the Dallas Cowboys roster, but the tight end position is one they won’t need to worry over. Thanks to Jake Ferguson’s ascension as the starter and young depth under contract, TE is one of the team’s strengths as it prepares for its next campaign.
Ferguson’s excellent first year as TE1 was just capped with being named a Pro Bowl alternate. Just two seasons in, the former fourth-round pick has already made us forget Dalton Schultz and looks like the best to man the position since Jason Witten. He’s also one of the team’s best bargains on a Day 3 rookie contract; even a likely bump in pay from performance escalators won’t change that.
You almost have to feel bad for Luke Schoonmaker, who didn’t ask to be drafted in the second round or by a team that already had its guy. He’ll have a hard time justifying the draft position in Ferguson’s shadow, but the front office deserves the criticism there. At the very least, Schoonmaker is a talented backup who’s also provided solid work as a run blocker. His offensive role could expand in his second season and allow Dallas to exploit matchup problems.
TEs Under Contract for 2024
- Jake Ferguson - $1.16m cap hit
- Luke Schoonmaker - $1.42m cap hit
- Peyton Hendershot- $990k cap hit
- John Stephens - $916k cap hit
- Princeton Fant - $795k cap hit
Even beyond the top two, things are pretty solid overall. Peyton Hendershot has proven effective when targeted and a good runner after the catch. We’re also intrigued to see if John Stephens Jr., a TE/WR hybrid, can come back from a preseason ACL tear and build on the strong receiving work he showed last year. Prospect Princeton Fant, an undrafted free agent last year, is also back after spending 2023 on the practice squad.
One thing we can almost guarantee this spring is that Dallas won’t be making any big moves at tight end. Their top two are set and they could ride with the current depth. At most, we’ll probably see them add a few camp bodies from this year’s UDFA crop or maybe a very late-round pick for a player they really like.
If the Cowboys were to make any move in free agency, it might be to re-sign Sean McKeon for experienced depth or bring in someone with more proven blocking ability. That is the one issue with Hendershot and Stephens as depth options, which could be a factor as improving the run will be an offseason focus for the team.
Whatever minor tweaks come, Jake Ferguson and Luke Schoonmaker make life relatively easy for Dallas’ front office this offseason. The Cowboys can direct attention and resources elsewhere on the roster, confident in what they’ve already established at the top of the TE depth chart.