Unfortunate injury could doom Cowboys TE's chances of making 53-man roster

Hard to envision this TE making the Cowboys' roster now.
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

There are number of Dallas Cowboys position battles at training camp that will be fascinating to watch unfold. How the running back rotation shakes out springs to mind, but there's also the battle for WR3 between Jalen Tolbert and Jalen Brooks. Fifth-round pick Ryan Flournoy could even thrust himself into that conversation.

It can be argued that safety is the deepest position on the roster, but the top four on the roster appear set in stone. Malik Hooker and Donovan Wilson will start with budding third-year pros Markquese Bell and Juanyeh Thomas completing the rotation.

The same cannot be said for the tight end position. While Jake Ferguson is head and shoulders above everyone else, it's anyone's guess how the pecking order will look come September. It makes for a heated competition in training camp, so all members will need to make the most of every practice.

Entering a pivotal year three, Peyton Hendershot is already behind the eight ball after a minor medical procedure forced him to miss minicamp, per Nick Harris of the team's official website. Hendershot had already been recovering from an ankle injury that would have resided him to the rehab group had he been present.

Peyton Hendershot injury could prove costly in crowded Cowboys tight end battle

Hendershot underwent ankle surgery shortly after the 2023 season ended. He's understandably being eased back, but ESPN's Todd Archer reported at the time of the surgery that Hendershot was expected to be available for the start of the offseason program.

The 25-year-old has about seven weeks to get healthy before the Cowboys leave for training camp. Even if he recovers, though, it's far from ideal that he missed nearly all of the spring installment. The absence of Luke Schoonmaker, who's recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and a hamstring injury, would have given Hendershot more reps with the first-team offense.

Instead, Mike McCarthy and Co. got to see more out of 2023 undrafted free agent Princeton Fant, who saw plenty of field time during OTAs.

The Cowboys clearly view touted UDFA Brevyn Spann-Ford as someone who should make the 53-man roster. They gave Spann-Ford a lofty $225,000 in guaranteed money. Though Spann-Ford needs to develop as a pass-catcher, his 6-7, 270-pound frame could be a godsend to the running game.

Additionally, fan darling John Stephens Jr. is putting on the fishing touches of his ACL rehab and is on track to be ready for training camp. Stephens Jr. shined during camp and preseason last year and the team all but confirmed that he would have made the 53-man roster if not for the injury.

Schoonmaker's absence undoubtedly helps Hendershot, but the latter missed a golden chance during OTAs and minicamp to stake his claim for a roster spot. Now, he'll be on a level playing field as Schoonmaker, Spann-Ford, Stephens Jr. and Fant even though he's entering his third season with the team.

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