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The Pros and Cons of the Cowboys bringing back Jason Witten

The Senator is back for the Cowboys, but what’s the impact?

Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As free agency slows down (although the Cowboys still have a few irons in the fire), we’re going to take a look back at their signings and evaluate the good and the bad of each. To kick off this series, we’ll look at the signing of Jason Witten.

Context

Jason Witten retired during the 2018 draft, opting for the commentator’s booth on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys tried to compensate for that in 2018 by using the group of Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Rico Gathers, with mixed results. Swaim was the primary starter and was just starting to find a groove when he hurt his wrist and ended up on injured reserve. He has left the team in free agency. Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz took over and while both had their moments, especially Jarwin’s three-touchdown explosion to close the regular season, neither were doing enough to cement their status as the guy. Rico Gathers has yet to show that his physical gifts will translate to production on the field.

Heading into free agency, the tight end position was still considered a high need for the Cowboys. Fans were interested in pursing Jared Cook or Tyler Eifert, or looking at the draft for a falling tight end like maybe an Irv Smith.

Instead, everyone was shocked when Jason Witten unretired and returned to the Cowboys.

The deal

Witten signed a one-year deal that has no guaranteed money. His base salary is $2 million and he will earn a bonuses of up to $1.25 million for being on the 53-man roster and bonuses of up to $1 million for being active on game day. His cap hit for 2019 is $4.25 million, and he can earn another $750,000 in bonuses.

Pros

  • The Cowboys have an experienced tight end back that will provide a more reliable target on third down.
  • Witten is a leader off-the-field and has a work ethic that motivates others.
  • Dallas is freed up from having to spend long-term resources in free agency or the draft while seeing if Jarwin or Schultz can develop.
  • New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore knows exactly what he’s getting in Witten and the best way to utilize him.
  • Witten has reportedly agreed that his role will be more limited than in the past.
  • He isn’t he blocker he once was, but Witten is still a reliable player in that role.

Cons

  • By the time the season begins, will be 37 years old.
  • He spent the last year out of football so will need to work himself back into game shape and knock off rust.
  • When Witten retired, it was already apparent he was slowing down and was no longer the elite tight end he once was for the Cowboys.
  • With his signing, the idea of getting an explosive, play-making tight end is on hold.
  • He could be viewed as a progress-stopper for players like Jarwin and Schultz if the Cowboys become too reliant on Witten.

So what’s your call BTB? How do you feel about the signing of Jason Witten? Vote in the poll and hit the comments.

Poll

What grade would you give the signing of Jason Witten.

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    A - Witten is exactly what the Cowboys needed at tight end
    (316 votes)
  • 43%
    B - It’s a good signing, give the Cowboys credit
    (1187 votes)
  • 24%
    C - Meh, the Cowboys did okay
    (659 votes)
  • 14%
    D - Not sure I get what the Cowboys were doing at all
    (408 votes)
  • 5%
    F - Terrible move for the Cowboys, they had much better options
    (156 votes)
2726 votes total Vote Now