Dolphins Pushed to ‘Find a Way’ to Trade for Underutilized Cowboys Draft Pick

Dolphins urged to trade for Cowboys TE Luke Schoonmaker.

Getty Dallas Cowboys tight end Luke Schoonmaker (left) was suggested as a creative trade target for the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami Dolphins won’t have a ton of money to spend in 2024 given their current cap situation (nearly $52 million in the negative), meaning general manager Chris Grier will have to get creative as he attempts to improve this roster.

A recent suggested “trade target” could help with that. During a comprehensive offseason trade guide published on January 29, Bleacher Report analyst Alex Ballentine highlighted 2023 Dallas Cowboys draft pick and backup tight end Luke Schoonmaker as a prospect he’d call about if he were Miami.

Mike McDaniel needs a well-rounded tight end for his offense to work best,” Ballentine explained. “If they were to find a way to acquire Luke Schoonmaker, they would have [a prospect that] the coaching staff could mold to fit their offense.”

Ballentine also noted that “the Cowboys don’t have as much need for Schoonmaker [after] Jake Ferguson’s breakout campaign.”

You see, after selecting Ferguson in round four of the 2022 draft, Dallas doubled down at tight end and took Schoonmaker in 2023 — and in the second round, no less. The rookie was quickly overshadowed by the incumbent upon arrival, however, as Ferguson exploded for 71 receptions, 761 yards and five touchdowns in year two.

Now Schoonmaker is without a proper role relative to his draft status.

Cowboys’ Luke Schoonmaker Offers Inexpensive Young Talent for Dolphins via Trade

The Cowboys must have thought very highly of the 6-foot-5 Michigan tight end to draft him at No. 58 overall — so they’re unlikely to give him up for free. Of course, now that his presence feels somewhat redundant, they might part with Schoonmaker for the right draft return in 2024.

Bleacher Report colleague Kris Knox called the second-year TE a “valuable trade chip” for Dallas. He also noted that “flipping [a] developmental tight end to help address other areas of need would be quite logical.”

The 25-year-old would be a perfect fit for Miami, considering he’s under team control for the next three seasons. According to Over the Cap, Schoonmaker’s cap hit ranges from an affordable $1.424 million in 2024 to just $1.994 million in 2026.

In acquiring him, the Dolphins could upgrade on impending free agent Tyler Kroft — a 31-year-old veteran that cost Miami about the same amount of cap space as Schoonmaker in 2023.

Luke Schoonmaker Profiles as Athletic, Run Blocking Scheme Fit for Mike McDaniel, Dolphins

Schoonmaker was utilized on 368 offensive snaps as a rookie according to Pro Football Reference. Over that span, the Cowboys prospect caught 8-of-15 targets for 65 yards and two touchdowns — including a four-yard reception versus the Dolphins.

He also logged 220 snaps on special teams and in limited usage, was graded out as a 59.1 as a run blocker on Pro Football Focus. Despite the average to sub-par marks in year one, run blocking was one of Schoonmaker’s strengths coming out of college.

“Versatile combination tight end capable of performing a variety of tasks in one-, two- or three-tight end sets,” NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein scouted in early 2023. “Schoonmaker steps foot on the field ready for action as a run blocker and does a nice job of competing in the entry and sustain phases of the block.”

Bleacher Report draft scout Derrik Klassen agreed, labeling him an “above-average blocker” that is “highly energetic” ahead of the draft.

While both draft experts noted that Schoonmaker was not necessarily a ready-made player at the pro-level — and appeared to be right in hindsight — his “size and athletic traits” were a common selling point.

“Schoonmaker is an exciting draft-and-develop type, but an older one,” Klassen concluded in his scouting report. “His size, field-stretching ability and baseline blocking skills are a great foundation to try to build upon.”

In McDaniel’s outside-zone rushing scheme that could soon feature the speedy De’Von Achane as the lead-back, an athletic dual-threat addition like Schoonmaker could make an impact in more ways than one.

Read More