Friday brought the news that a Cowboys tight end was retiring. No, not that one.
James Hanna’s six-year NFL career came to an end when Dallas put him on the reserve/retired list due to a longstanding knee injury, and the move served as yet another reminder at how many tight ends Jason Witten has outlasted.
I used to have a friend that enjoyed quizzing people on the Cowboys quarterbacks between Troy Aikman and Tony Romo, that’s quite an infamous club. Should we start making room at the table next to them for all the drafted tight ends in Dallas that Witten has reigned supreme over?
Gold Jacket Witt was taken in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft by Bill Parcells and his staff, but can you really name the tight ends the team has drafted since then that they’ve moved on from? The Witten Five grew to The Witten Six with James Hanna.
Tight ends the Cowboys have drafted that Jason Witten has outlasted in Dallas (round):— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) April 20, 2018
2004: Sean Ryan (5th)
2006: Anthony Fasano (2nd)
2008: Martellus Bennett (2nd)
2009: John Phillips (6th)
2012: James Hanna (6th)
2013: Gavin Escobar (2nd)
Isn’t it amazing, I’m talking absolutely astonishing, that the Cowboys have taken three tight ends in the second round over Witten’s career?!
Two of those second-round selections, Martellus Bennett and Gavin Escobar, aren’t even in the NFL right now. The former retired this offseason and the latter has had troubles catching on with a team since the Cowboys didn’t re-sign him a year ago.
There are still two drafted tight ends that Jason Witten hasn’t beaten out just yet. Geoff Swaim (2015) and Rico Gathers (2016) are both potentially going to be part of the position group this season. Will we eventually reach The Witten Eight?
Only time, Witten’s potential kryptonite, will tell.