Out of the blue, a thunderbolt strikes the Dallas Cowboys fan base. News just came out that Jason Witten will be returning to his old team for the 2019 season. Witten retired last offseason during the draft, catching the Cowboys off-guard. Now he returns, but what does that mean for the Cowboys?
One of the first issues people may be wondering about is how much did the Cowboys pay Witten? As of now, we have differing numbers on that.
The #Cowboys are giving their new/old TE Jason Witten roughly $5M to come out of retirement for the 2019 season, source said. Witten had considered it for some time, now makes the dramatic return.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 28, 2019
That would seem to be on the high end of what they would pay. But there is another report of a much-friendlier salary cap number number.
Cowboys are giving their former and new tight end Jason Witten a one-year, $3.5 million contract, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 28, 2019
Maybe both are correct in some way and there are incentives or other things that would bridge the gap. We’ll just have to wait for the details.
Another issue is just how much does Witten have left in the tank? He will turn 37 in May and has now been away from serious training for a year. Of course, a year off might have rejuvenated him somewhat. Whatever the case, it appears that Witten will only be a spot player and not resume the role of playing every down like he used to do.
A source just told @1033fmESPN that Witten has agreed to a limited snap role with the Cowboys. He’ll play, but not 60 snaps a game. He played 98.6 percent of the snaps (1048) in 2017.— Jean-Jacques Taylor (@JJT_Journalist) February 28, 2019
The Cowboys will still want to see what they have with Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin, so they need to get them on the field, too. Additionally, we don’t know for sure just how Kellen Moore plans to use his tight ends.
It’s an interesting move for the Cowboys, but anybody expecting to see #82 return to his dominant role as the Cowboys tight end will likely be disappointed. It sounds like the Cowboys have a specific role in mind that will take into account his age and the younger players on the roster at the tight end position.