The Cowboys were never really able to replace the production of Jason Witten once he retired during the draft of 2018. They were never really going to totally replace Witten’s production, but they were certainly hoping the foursome of Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Rico Gathers would create some kind of action at the position. Swaim was the nominal starter and was just starting to up his game when he was injured for the season. He’s now a free agent and it’s unknown if he’ll return. Rico Gathers is the hype-monster that has yet to produce much of anything.
In the end, it was Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz that were the main cogs in the tight end machine. Which one, if either, will separate from the pack in 2019? They could be facing competition from either a free agent or a draft pick. But without projecting those factors, which player, Jarwin or Schultz, will get the most playing time in 2019?
Jarwin was an UDFA in 2017, and the Cowboys actually promoted him to the active roster to keep him from getting poached at one point. He’s thought of as the better receiver, and his three-touchdown outing in the regular season’s finale was tantalizing. Jarwin’s problems are inconsistency and issues in the blocking game. There was a point in the season when his snap counts bottomed out; in the middle of the season in games against Atlanta and Philadelphia he only had six total snaps. Once Swaim went down, he was thrust back into the mix.
2018 stats - 27 catches, 307 yards and three touchdowns. He played on 35.8% of the offensive snaps.
Drafted in 2018 in the fourth round, Schultz got off to a slow start and was buried on the depth chart. He didn’t really get going until Week 7 of the season. His game slowly built after that and by the end of the year he was regularly logging 40-60% of the offensive snaps per game. The Cowboys liked his blocking ability which grew until the point he became the de facto “blocking” tight end on the team. What he needs to do over the offseason is prove to the Cowboys he can also be an offensive threat in the passing game.
2018 stats - 12 catches, 116 yards and no touchdowns. He played on 27.8% of the offensive snaps.
It might be tempting to think Jarwin has the clear edge because of the stats, but without that huge final game, they would be a lot closer. Additionally, Schultz was getting more playing time in some of the later games. The change in offensive coordinator may affect things with the tight ends, and, as was mentioned, free agency and the draft are big factors.
But with what we know today, which player will get more playing time in 2019?
More offensive snaps in 2019?
This poll is closed