3 Cowboys headed for bigger roles in 2023 after first wave of free agency

Cowboys, Jake Ferguson. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Cowboys, Jake Ferguson. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Cowboys, Jake Ferguson
Cowboys, Jake Ferguson. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

1. Jake Ferguson, TE

While Dallas got next to nothing from Jalen Tolbert, they did seem to find a capable tight end in the following round of the NFL Draft. With the 129th pick during Round 4, the Cowboys brought in Jake Ferguson from Wisconsin.

As a rookie, Ferguson served as the No. 2 tight end behind Dalton Schultz. With Schultz dealing with a knee injury early in the year, Ferguson got a chance to get in some meaningful snaps and never disappointed. In all, he appeared in 16 games with eight starts and had 19 receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

It was a small sample size but he made the most of every opportunity as he caught all but three targets thrown his way, which gave him an impressive catch rate of 86.4 percent.

This coming season, Ferguson should see his usage go up in a major way. Dallas was unable to retain Schultz, who played on the franchise tag in 2022. Now in free agency, he’s set to break the bank and that leaves his starting spot open.

Right now, Ferguson has the advantage over fellow second-year player Peyton Hendershot. Of course, Dallas could elect to draft a tight end and Utah’s Dalton Kincaid has been listed as a possible fit. Even if that were to happen, Ferguson will likely be leaned on more as the rookie learns the ropes. And as he showed in 2022, he will make the most of whatever chance he gets.