The Dallas Cowboys have a few young players with bright futures, and Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce is adding to the hype with a new comment.
Dallas was watching from the sidelines as the Chiefs eeked out a 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII as Kelce turned in a tremendous performance with six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Now that the dust has settled, Kelce is speaking about his season and what else is on his mind. Apparently, Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson is part of that.
“There are a few great tight ends out there,” Kelce said at the team’s official press conference. “I don’t know if there are any that remind me of myself, but there are a few guys I’m excited about. Kyle Pitts (of the Atlanta Falcons) being one of them. (Jake) Ferguson down in Dallas and (Daniel) Bellinger over in New York. I’m excited to see how these guys manifest over the next few years and we’ll see where they can take their game.”
Getting name-dropped by a future Hall of Famer is always high praise, and Ferguson gave fans plenty of reasons for optimism despite being a backup to Dallas’ starting tight end Dalton Schultz.
Ferguson Gets Settled
On the surface, Ferguson’s stats from the 2022 season are nothing to ride home about. He was splitting attention with Schultz and fellow rookie Peyton Hendershot, and his numbers reflect that.
According to Pro Football Reference, Ferguson was targeted just 22 times in his 16 appearances for the Cowboys. However, he caught 19 of those 22 targets and had zero drops and zero interceptions when being targeted.
His 174 receiving yards and two touchdowns belies what he can do as a receiver, but it also doesn’t explain how solid of a blocker Ferguson is. The clip seen below shows that Ferguson has the power and drive to stay with a blocker and set up game-changing runs for players like RB Tony Pollard.
If Schultz is on his way out, it would only make sense that Ferguson will play a bigger role offensively. But either way, he’s got the kind of toolset Dallas needs at tight end.
Cowboys Have Key Decision at TE
Speaking of Schultz, Dallas will be entering their second consecutive season with a question mark surrounding the veteran tight end. Last season, the Cowboys elected to use the franchise tag on Schultz and now they have to figure out which direction to head again.
It’s made even trickier by the fact that Schultz did not have the kind of season the team would hope for after paying him close to $11 million. PFR shows that Schultz’s production dropped in 2022, as he totaled 577 receiving yards and five touchdowns, a step lower from his impressive 2021 season.
Of course, there were factors that influenced his numbers, such as quarterback Dak Prescott missing several weeks with a fractured thumb. But the fact of the matter is that Schultz wasn’t showing up as a difference-maker most weeks.
His 56-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Tennessee Titans in Week 17 was the best of the year, and that came against a Tennessee Titans team that had fallen apart and lost their last seven games of the year.
Now, Dallas must figure out if they can or should bring Schultz back. Having promising tight ends like Ferguson and Hendershot only makes that decision more interesting.