One of the most intriguing positions the Dallas Cowboys must upgrade is tight end. It’s clear Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz didn’t produce as much as Cowboys Nation would’ve wanted in 2018, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it was only because of their performance. However it may be, the team is still looking for the next Jason Witten and although they’re not likely to find one, I’d take a look at the free agents available.
Last week I wrote about why I believe tight end is a position that should be addressed in free agency rather than in the NFL Draft. The reason why is that to really upgrade the position, they probably would have to draft a tight end in the second round. A late third round pick or a later one will probably not be enough to considerably improve a room that counts with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. This duo improved as the season went on in 2018 and with a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore, it should see more production than in Scott Linehan’s offense.
A few interesting tight ends will be available in free agency but I’m looking right at the former TE of the Cincinnati Bengals, Tyler Eifert. I know, I know. Eifert has quite a history with injuries. He’s dealt with elbow, knee and back injuries throughout his career and is a high risk player. He’s missed 34 games in the last three years. Ouch… But the truth is, he’s also a high reward player.
When he’s healthy, he’s an incredible athlete. In 2015 he caught 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. His career average yards per reception is 12.1. He hasn’t averaged less than 10 in any of his seasons.
The Dallas Cowboys brought in a premium wide receiver in Amari Cooper and watched the benefits unfold on the football field week after week. Bringing a reliable target at tight end could drastically help Dak Prescott improve in his fourth year in the league.
The main concern around Tyler Eifert is his health and availability. That’s why he’s considered a risky free agent. So let’s assume the worst for a second. Let’s say Eifert does go down at some point of the season. The downside to that would be going back to Blake Jarwin and a second-year version of Dalton Schultz. Would that really be that bad?
Scott Linehan’s offenses didn’t use tight ends as much. Let’s see what they can do with Kellen Moore calling the shots. I’m convinced we’d see more from them. Jarwin flashed his potential when he caught 3 touchdowns and 119 yards in week 17 versus the New York Giants. Besides that game, Jarwin was targeted more than three times in only two games.
Tyler Eifert is worth the risk. He shouldn’t be an expensive free agent given his history even though he’s only 28 years old and could have a lot left in the tank. Best case scenario, he doesn’t get injured and plays like a legit NFL starting TE and takes the Cowboys’ passing game to the next level. I’m here for it. Considering the difference between best case scenario and the worst, I’d take the risk.