Jason Witten has been a mainstay for the Dallas Cowboys since joining the club in 2003. During that time #82 has only missed one game due to injury and that was during his initial year in the league. No opponent has been able to keep the Dallas tight end down, but Father Time will eventually catch up to even the Senator. No mortal can resist the toll the football gods demand from everyone who plays the game. Eventually the Cowboys are going to face a day when Witten no longer lines up on the end of the line of scrimmage.
Without knowing when that day will come, the Cowboys have gone through a lot of backup tight ends, and have had a couple of guys in Gavin Escobar and James Hanna combining for the past few years to hold down that backup spot. This year, the Cowboys went out and got another in the draft, Geoff Swaim in the seventh round.
The Cowboys were pleased with the progress of both Gavin Escobar and James Hanna but they saw something in Swaim that made him their kind of guy. The team is looking toward the future and could consider keeping a fourth tight end on the roster or possibly parting ways with Hanna.
"Swaim is a guy we've liked really from OTAs. He's stepped right in there, and did a nice job in terms of stepping right in. He wasn't very involved last year in the Longhorns offense, but give our scouts a lot of credit. They really had a vision for him and what he could be for us, and he's really been that and more." - Stephen Jones
Geoff is seen as an inline TE like Witten and so far he is acquitting himself well in the role. Swaim knows how fortunate he has been to have a legend to learn from and he is taking every opportunity to benefit from his good fortune.
"He's a Hall of Famer and I've watched him since I was in middle school. Seriously. And I've learned so much from him just by following him around at practice and picking his brain a little bit. He's been so gracious to help me because he doesn't have to. He doesn't have to do that stuff. But he does and that's been real beneficial to me." - Geoff Swaim
Replacing the greats is something that the Cowboys have not always done well, see the fiasco between the times of Aikman and Romo if you need further proof, but they are attempting to get it right with the Witten situation. They continually add new tight ends to the roster on a regular basis, this year it's Swaim. They are going back to the type of player who worked out so well for them back in 2003, and they are doing so while the Senator is still around to serve as mentor to the man the team thinks may have a future.
Look for Geoff Swaim to be one of the 53 men who start the season on the Dallas Cowboys roster in 2015. He will be a bit player for another season or two, but the Cowboys are hoping for big things from him in the future. In my mind the only question is will he be the third tight end or will Dallas keep four. Regardless of how the cuts come down, the rookie from the University of Texas should not be meeting the Turk in 2015.