It was reported yesterday that legendary Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten will be retiring in 2021. After years of speculation that Witten could have a future in coaching, is there a chance that his next job might be on Dallas' staff?
We're still early in the offseason so what jobs may be available on the Cowboys' coaching staff isn't entirely clear. But with Kellen Moore staying on as offensive coordinator there may not be a lot of changes this year.
There's nothing that says Witten would have to start off as a Tight Ends Coach but that's the typical pathway for most players-turned-coaches, starting where they played. But of all the coaches on Dallas' staff in 2020, TE Coach Lunda Wells probably had one of the best seasons.
After Wells joined the Cowboys in 2020 as part of Mike McCarthy's new regime, Dallas lost starter Blake Jarwin in Week One. But third-year prospect Dalton Schultz, who was starting to look like a lost cause after two quiet seasons, stepped up and was very productive as the replacement.
There's no apparent reason that Dallas would want to move on from Lunda Wells in his role. But that doesn't mean Jason Witten couldn't start in some other capacity.
Like Marc Colombo or Leon Lett in recent years, Witten could start off as an assistant position coach. There also other assistant roles on a coaching staff that Jason might be able to start in just to begin his experience in a non-playing role.
Of course, the Cowboys aren't the only team that might value having Witten on its sideline. While Jason has a long history with the Jones Family, an even stronger personal bond could pull him to another team.
Jason Garrett is still the Giants' offensive coordinator for now, which by this point in January means he has a good shot at sticking around. It would reasonable for Garrett to get another chance after losing Saquon Barkley and trying to install an offense during the pandemic.
It was no secret through the years that Garrett, Witten, and Tony Romo had strong friendships that went beyond their mutual employment with the Cowboys. It wouldn't be surprising at all to see Witten wind up working for a Garrett-led staff somewhere.
Even if Jason Garrett were to be fired by New York he could have other suitors. There's also been talk of him moving into the college coaching someday, where his personality as a mentor and leader would perhaps find more fulfillment.
This is all just fun speculation, though. So far Witten hasn't been tagged to any coaching jobs or opportunities, but the future Hall of Famer has stated he'd like to move into that world after his retirement.
With an established reputation for his locker room influence and understanding of the game, Jason Witten is sure to draw interest if he puts himself out there as a coaching candidate. Kellen Moore worked with him in 2017 and 2019 and Mike McCarthy surely knows him as a longtime NFL figure, so they would likely find a way to make Witten part of their team if the interest is mutual.
But rest assured, Witten will have options as one of the most decorated tight ends in NFL history.