Once again, the Cowboys find themselves with over 20 players who have expiring contracts. But still, there's a large percentage of players on the roster already in place. Over the next few weeks, the staff writers will evaluate those players under contract, reviewing their past performances with an outlook to the future. Today, we'll continue the series with tight end Peyton Hendershot.
What Worked: For starters, if you're an undrafted rookie free agent and end up, not only making the team but having some moderate success on the field, that's a win right there. Hendershot undoubtedly exceeded expectations when he was able to make the 53-man roster and play in all 17 regular-season games. He started two games, had 11 catches and scored two touchdowns.
Needs Some Work: If there was a negative part of Hendershot's game, it would likely be in the amount of penalties, compared to his lack of consistent playing time. Hendershot tied for third on the team with six penalties, despite ranking 33rd overall in snaps. But to be fair, the six-most penalized players on the team are all first-second or third-year players, including three rookies. So with time, Hendershot should be able to overcome those penalty issues, which will be a priority if he's going to get more snaps, which is expected.
His Best Work: The backup tight end spots can sometimes be difficult to evaluate. Hendershot was a valuable member of the offense and had a big role, despite just the 11 catches. But one of his two touchdowns – a 20-yard reception in the end zone against the Jaguars – gave us a glimpse of the playmaking ability Hendershot has, especially down the field. Also, coupled with fellow rookie Jake Ferguson, they definitely brought some added athleticism to the tight end position, not to mention amping up the TD-celebration-game as well.
Contract Consideration: Hendershot won't count much against the salary cap for a couple of years. As a rookie free agent, he will be under contract this season and then likely will be an exclusive-rights free agents in 2024.
What's Next: The tight end room could look very different, depending on what happens with Dalton Schultz in free agency. Schultz is expected to test the market next week and if he ends up leaving for another team, Hendershot should get a chance for even more snaps in 2023. Now, don't rule out the Cowboys drafting a tight end as well, but after his rookie year, Hendershot will certainly get the chance to compete for more time, and possibly even a starting job. What he provides in terms of athleticism and down-field ability is something the Cowboys are always looking for in a tight end.