A hot topic for the Dallas Cowboys' 2020 offseason is what to do at the tight end position. The top two players, Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin are both free agents. Will the new coaching staff value either enough to bring them back, or could we be looking at fresh faces on offense?
Dalton Schultz, a 4th-round pick in 2018, is still around and waiting for a chance to shine. But even if the Cowboys do allow both Witten and Jarwin to walk, they will certainly be looking for some more proven or potential talent to fill the top spots on the TE depth chart.
2020 Tight End Contract Statuses
- Dalton Schultz
- Cole Hikutini
- Free Agents
- Jason Witten (UFA)
- Blake Jarwin (RFA)
UFA = Unrestricted, RFA = Restricted
Witten's return has turned into a full-on debate among Cowboys onlookers. Some of our own writers have discussed it recently; whether or not Jason should come back as well as ways that Dallas should try to replace him.
There's no denying that Witten isn't an elite player anymore. His legacy is unquestionable, but all those catches since 2003 aren't going to help Dallas win a Super Bowl in 2020. They need to get younger and faster at TE.
Blake Jarwin fits that criteria, but is he talented enough to be the number-one guy? He has shown some solid receiving skills but has liabilities as a blocker which hold him back, and especially on a team as run-focused as the Cowboys.
Mike McCarthy's arrival in Dallas may help Jarwin's stock price. He liked big, athletic tight ends in Green Bay who were more pass catchers than blockers.
But still, we're talking about an undrafted guy here. Has Jarwin shown enough to be trusted with major responsibility in 2020?
Keeping Blake shouldn't be an issue given that he's a restricted free agent. Dallas can give him the lowest RFA tender and be able to match any offer he might get on the open market. The Cowboys could also work out a contract extension to lower his yearly salary but provide some security.
It will also be interesting to see what happens with Schultz in his third season. In his rookie year he was buried behind Jarwin and Geoff Swaim and then last year again with Witten returning.
If the Cowboys are willing to hand the TE position over to Jarwin in 2020, it's possible that they would allow Schultz to move up into the number-two role. That would give Dallas the freedom to use their draft picks at other positions of needed.
Free agency isn't looking too hot for TE option this year. The top names all have concerns, such as Austin Hooper's lack of production in Atlanta or Hunter Henry's injury problems with the Chargers. In fact, you only go down a few names on most lists before Blake Jarwin and Jason Witten show up.
Frankly, I don't think the Cowboys want Witten back at this point. Maybe the last coaching staff would have, but McCarthy has seemed determined to flush out as many “Garrett guys” as he can. And at this point, given his waning effectiveness on the field, Witten's current value is almost more as a leader and mentor than player.
The front office could force the issue, but even the most ardent Cowboys fans have started turning on Witten. I doubt the pragmatic Stephen Jones is going to have a problem cutting the cord.
So assuming Jason is gone, that leaves us with the question of how Dallas will proceed with its current young prospects. Do they give Jarwin and Schultz a season to sink or swim, or will they want to hedge that bet with some more flashy talent from the draft?
With lots of options both currently with the team and on the outside, we will see what the 2020 offseason has in store for the tight end position. Whatever happens, it promises to be busy.