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Dallas Cowboys: Tight End Need Is Bigger Than We Realize



Cowboys Blog - Tight End is a Bigger Need Than We Realize

The retirement of Heath Miller really hit me today.

Not because I am a huge Miller fan or Steelers fan or anything like that, but my first reaction was to think about Jason Witten.

Witten has been 'ole reliable for quite some time with the Dallas Cowboys. You know what you're going to get with him. He is going to block better than almost any tight end you can think of. He is going to find all the holes in the defense. He is going to catch the ball and these days...pretty much get tackled immediately.

But, he is always so reliable. There are few players in the game who can do what Jason Witten has done for as long as he has done it.

To say it would be a huge loss should Witten retire would be a drastic understatement. This is one of the foundational pieces in Cowboys history.

With that being said, Jason Witten's days have to be numbered. His play on the field is still so good that you don't have to worry about him regressing or anything of that nature. His style of play is conducive to a long career.

At 33 years old though, you have to think he might want to call it quits some time in the near future. Thirteen years of NFL football is a lot for any player to handle, let alone a tight end. That is 207 games of NFL football. That is just insane to think about.

That brings me to my main point. Tight end has to be a position the Cowboys think about. With Gavin Escobar suffering a torn achilles late in the 2015 season and James Hanna about to hit free agency, the tight end position is one of the thinnest on the roster.

Cowboys Blog - Tight End is a Bigger Need Than We Realize 1

Gavin Escobar showed tremendous potential as a receiving tight end, but hasn't really reached expectations. With his achilles injury his time with the Cowboys seems like it is ending

The Cowboys traded back into the seventh round of last year's NFL draft to select Geoff Swaim. That is your depth chart right there, Jason Witten and Geoff Swaim.

Swaim is considered to be mostly a blocking tight end, but he didn't really get the opportunities to show what he can do as a receiver at Texas. There is some potential there, but if anything were to happen to Jason Witten would you feel comfortable with Geoff Swaim and nothing else?

If Jason Witten were to call if quits, would you feel comfortable with Geoff Swaim being the tight end of the future?

While I'm not here to bash Swaim, I actually think he showed some promise, I do think the tight end position needs to be addressed.

Cowboys Blog - Tight End is a Bigger Need Than We Realize 3

Geoff Swaim was really only a blocking tight end in college but flashed potential during his time with the Cowboys

The Cowboys love to run the ball using two tight ends. Swaim and Witten wouldn't be a bad thing, but James Hanna did a great job as a blocking tight end and really showed promise as a receiver as well.

How do the Cowboys address the tight end position?

They can simply re-sign James Hanna. This would give them a tight end depth chart of Jason Witten, James Hanna and Geoff Swaim. That isn't a bad depth chart by any means.

Cowboys Blog - Tight End is a Bigger Need Than We Realize 2

James Hanna is a better player than we give him player for. Look out for @DTSTurner 's explanation on Twitter for how good Hanna actually is

If the Cowboys want to go the free agency route, Dwayne Allen is a really intriguing option, but I don't think this is the time to make any sort of a splash at the tight end position.

They can take a tight end in the draft, but I wouldn't use a premium pick on it unless that player is by far the best player available at the pick.

The best way to fortify the tight end position is to simply re-sign James Hanna. This would give the Cowboys good depth at the tight end position. Finding the heir to Jason Witten can happen further down the line. You would like to find his successor through the draft, but I don't think that time has come yet. This is the time to find developmental guys or take risks and hope it pans out so you don't have to use a premium pick later on.

Appreciate Jason Witten while you have him. That man is an all-time talent and an all-time character. I would love to see Witten ride off on top after winning a Super Bowl, maybe with his battery-mate Tony Romo as well.

Two guys who definitely deserve that ever-so-elusive Super Bowl ring.

I've been blogging about sports and music for almost eight years now. I also work in media relations for a New York sports team, so I understand the bridge between the outlets writing about a team and the team monitoring content. I hope to bring something new to Inside The Star, getting deep into draft work, breakdowns and I always come with a strong and passionate opinion. I'm very active on Twitter, so ask questions, comment on stuff, etc. and I will almost definitely respond to you in some sort of debate!

  • Zac Fields

    I agree with the reality that Jason Witten, like his buddy Tony Romo, is probably within a few years of calling it quits.

    BUT, I also think the Cowboys do a great job developing tight ends. We may not have had a Witten-level tight end in these parts, but Cowboys TEs have consistently left Dallas and gone on to do good things elsewhere. Fasano, Marty-B, Scott Chandler, and I personally believe James Hanna and Gavin Escobar both have 500+ yard seasons in their future.

    I think they need to drop their habit of drafting tight ends in the 2nd/3rd rounds and focus on late-round tight ends they can develop. Once we're sure Witten only has maybe one season left in him (or even after he retires) then make TE a priority. I hate to put it this way, but I feel similarly about tight ends as I do about runningbacks. Having a great one may be rare, but "good" tight ends are a dime a dozen.

  • Jess Haynie

    I agree with you Zac. I'd much rather see them add the occasional John Phillips or James Hanna and groom them into #2 role then force it on a Marty B or Escobar. Just not necessary given Witten's longevity.

Player News

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018 1

Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.

Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of...

While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018

Dallas Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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