When Jason Witten game out of retirement lat year, he signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys to continue his career. At the time, most thought that it would be just for one season and he would retire again, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. According to Jon Machota, Witten would like to return to Dallas but won’t rule out playing elsewhere in 2020.
Jason Witten hopes to continue playing in Dallas. "But I realize I'm a free agent too in March. Any time a new staff comes together, I've played a long time, so I realize that may mean somewhere else too." Witten has talked with Mike McCarthy and stayed in contact w/ Jerry Jones.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 30, 2020
The Cowboys now have a choice to make. Witten has spent his whole career with the Cowboys, one that will surely end with a trip to Canton and the Hall of Fame. But whether they want him back for another year is a different deal. It would be hard to see Witten play for another team, but at the same time the Cowboys need to develop their tight ends of the future.
Witten’s stats for 2019 were okay for a middle-of-the-road tight end, he had 63 catches for 529 yards and four touchdowns. Still, there is no denying that Blake Jarwin is a much more dynamic tight end who can stretch the field and make plays after the catch. Jarwin is a restricted free agent so if the Cowboys want him back they could make that happen.
With Witten on the field for 75% of the offensive snaps last year, Jarwin’s snaps were limited to 38%. Jason Witten and Jerry Jones both had a very strong bond with Witten, but Mike McCarthy is coming at this fresh and may prefer the dynamic potential of Jarwin over Witten. The Cowboys could also look to the draft or free agency for TE help.
This will be an interesting decision for Dallas. No one really wants to see Witten play for another team, but his age is moving up and his skills are in decline while the Cowboys could pursue better options. Jerry Jones will obviously have his say, but if Witten doesn’t end up in Dallas, everybody will look to the New York Giants as a possible landing spot.