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Film Review: Tavon Austin Adds Explosive Element to Cowboys Offense

Brian Martin



Film Review: Tavon Austin Adds Explosive Element to Cowboys Offense

The Dallas Cowboys did something completely unexpected during the 2018 NFL Draft, they traded for veteran running back/wide receiver/return specialist, Tavon Austin. These kind of draft day trades are uncommon in the NFL and rarely pay off, but this is someone who could add an entirely different element to the Cowboys offense.

Now that Tavon Austin is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys, I wanted to get a little bit more familiar with the type of player he is and how he fits into the offensive scheme.

I'll be completely honest, I wasn't all too familiar with Tavon Austin. The only things I really knew about him was that he is dangerous in space and that he has been mostly used as a "gadget" player for the majority of his professional career with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams.

When I started watching his game film with the Rams, everything I believed he was proved true. But, his professional game tape left me wondering how he would fit in with the Cowboys, so I decided to dig a little deeper to find out how he was utilized in college. I did this because I thought he could've been better utilized in the NFL.

Austin's college game film as you can imagine was much better than his professional film. You could argue that was because of the different levels in competition, but I think it was because West Virginia had a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses.

The main difference I noticed in his professional game tape and his college tape was that he was used much more as a running back at West Virginia than he was with the Rams. I think this is where he is most comfortable, even though he is undersized for the position at just 5'9", 175 pounds.

Strangely enough, I think the Dallas Cowboys agree because that's the way he was announced when the trade was completed. I would expect the Cowboys use Tavon Austin as a change of pace/receiving back to complement Ezekiel Elliott, and I couldn't be more excited about his addition.

Austin is an explosive player and he has the ability to take over a game almost all by himself because of his unique skill set. I discovered this when I watched what he was able to accomplish in 2012 against a 10th-ranked Oklahoma Sooner team. He accumulated 572 All-Purpose Yards, 344 of which were rushing yards, and 2 touchdowns.

I wanted to share with you a few of his explosive plays in that matchup and how I think he could be utilized in the Dallas Cowboys offense this season.


T. Austin long TD run

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This was just one of several long runs Tavon Austin had against Oklahoma. The Sooner defense didn't have an answer for him all game.

Austin starts the play lined up in the backfield as the running back in the pistol formation behind Geno Smith. Dallas doesn't run a lot of pistol formations, but this is exactly the kind of outside zone play he will run with the Cowboys and the results we could see because of his speed/explosion.

Now, I understand this play was perfectly blocked, but all Austin needs is a crease and he's gone. We've all heard that "speed kills" in the NFL. Well, Tavon Austin has that in spades. He can be really dangerous behind the Cowboys talented offensive line, even if he only receives a handful of carries a game.

Here's another example of how dangerous he can be because of his speed, even in a goal line situation.

T. Austin goal line TD

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Tavon Austin probably won't be asked to run the ball very much around the goal line for the Dallas Cowboys because of how proficient Ezekiel Elliott is in short yardage situations, but the play above proves he can still be dangerous in short yardage situations.

On this play, things aren't as perfectly blocked as they were in the earlier clip. Austin had to use both his speed and elusiveness to shake a defender, who nearly had the play stopped in the backfield, in order to find the end zone. It's an impressive run that could come in handy for the Cowboys in 2018.


The fact that Tavon Austin is more well-known as a wide receiver in the NFL should tell you all you need to know about how dangerous he can be in the receiving game. I think he will be utilized as a receiver with the Dallas Cowboys, but I think it will mostly be as a RB coming out of the backfield.

Because of his size, Austin would have to play out of the slot with the Cowboys. Cole Beasley currently holds down this position and is not only a better receiver, but has Dak Prescott's confidence. Austin may spell Beasley from time to time, but I don't believe it will be his primary position.

T. Austin catch out of the backfield

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This simple pitch and catch play is exactly how I believe Scott Linehan will use Tavon Austin in the Cowboys passing game. Austin is easily able to pick up 10 yards and the first down here because of how quickly he gets up the field after the catch.

He will be a mismatch against bigger/slower linebackers and gives Prescott a safety valve in the passing game if he needs to get rid of the ball quickly. This is something that should prove invaluable in 2018, especially after how frustrating things were with the passing game last season.


Overall, there are a variety different ways Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan can get Tavon Austin involved in the Cowboys offense in both the running and passing game. I personally believe we will see him lined up as a RB the majority of the time, but will be used as a WR as well.

We will see Austin take handoffs out of the backfield, run jet sweeps, reverses, RB/WR screens, swing/dump off passes, run routes in the passing game, and of course be heavily involved in the return game as both a kick and punt returner. All in all, he could be the explosive element the Cowboys offense has been missing for some time now.

What role do you envision Tavon Austin having with the Dallas Cowboys?

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.



  1. Eric Maras

    May 7, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Tavon Austin went to West Virginia, not Virginia Tech…

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 7, 2018 at 9:31 am

      It’s been corrected. For some reason always get this to teams mixed up

      • Eric Maras

        May 7, 2018 at 10:36 am

        Cool glad I could help! Great article 🙂 Hoping Tavon will bring some spark to the offense this year

  2. Chuck Wright

    May 7, 2018 at 7:44 am

    another good read. TA should bring a needed element to the offense. Of course assuming our OC can figure out how to use him.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 7, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Thanks Chuck. I’m also hoping Linehan is able to figure out a way to use him.

  3. Pamela Keeth

    May 7, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Virginia Tech….Really??? I thought they were Hokies not Mountaineers. Kind of a glaring mistake.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 7, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Sorry about that. I don’t know why, but I always get those two teams mixed up. It has been corrected.

  4. elindio42

    May 7, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Austin fumbles punts! Three last year!

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 7, 2018 at 9:33 am

      This is a big concern. I’m hoping the Cowboys can stress the importance of ball security and this doesn’t become a problem moving forward.

      • elindio42

        May 7, 2018 at 12:20 pm

        I’m going to predict they use another player for punts, probably Cedric Wilson.

        Austin has a long history of fumbles on punts. This can be a game changer.

  5. MissFelonyStrutter

    May 7, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Listen this is really for the old school Cowboys fans and they will understand where I am coming from, so Triplets era born players, listen up. Believe it or not it was the Cowboys who invented the term or special position of the “Third down back.” In all honesty you can trace it back to Dan Reeves, especially after his second knee injury and he became a situational player. However Coach Landry always wanted a better athelete for that role and that is EXACTLY what was born with Preston Pearson. Preston Pearson was a half back used as a third down receiver and for gimmick players like reverses and the option shovel pass. Also he ran routes better than most receivers. He was so vital to our mid to late 70’s success, a true key in our winning and he was replaced by Ron Springs. After that than we lost that type of back under Landry because they just had everything run through Herschel. When Jimmy got here that “third down” back went away and was to never be remotely tried again until the drafting of Michael Wiley out of Ohio State. This role has only worked out with one player and that is or as Lance Dunbar. However we all know how injuries ruined his career. Well truth be told the week before the draft they worked out Dunbar and were going to sign him but they put out a feeler to the Rams and they responded, Dunbar was not signed. The way I would like to see him used is like Preston Pearson. I have been SCREAMING for a Preston Pearson for decades. Dunbar should have been used more when healthy. However you get these idiot fans that just want to re-create the Triplets over and over again, which means never take off Emmitti (now ZEKE). Chris Carter was a good change up back but that was power and he could catch. I hoped Sherman Williams would have turned into that role but we know what happened to him. So I can see Tayvon doing what Dunbar and Whitehead did. They cannot list him as a running back or he has to change his number. So I can see him being listed as a receiver and being lined up as a half back sometimes.
    Now what you DID NOT bring up is something that quite honestly, I don’t know why you did not bring it up. It is why he was available, he is a turnover (fumble) machine. In the past two years he has fumbled 11 times. Honestly, Ryan Switzer is built better than him to be an occasional running back and perfect for a third down receiver. Maybe Tayvon is a little faster or more explosive off the line but I really wish we gave Ryan a look. Ryan is a SMART player as demonstrated last year when in Washington he adjusted to another Dak duck special. Not only did Ryan stay in bounds to keep the clock running he had to make a huge adjustment with this body. Man literally knelt on the sideline and tried to cut back inside. Smart player, Ryan is younger, less injuries and on a fist NFL deal. However we did not and our former special coach wanted him. So I can invision Tayvon doing a mixture of what Dunbar and Whitehead. IN a perfect world I would have him to those things but also more things that Preston Pearson did. However I know for shit sure he is not as smart as a player that Preston was and he has fumble issues. I love the idea of having this kind of back, just it not being him to do it. I hate the trade then and I hate it even more now. Again, I want this type of position on the team. I have been yelling for it since Springs was released in 1985. Honestly it is how Dorsett should have been used in 1987and 1988 but nope we stopped playing him ad traded him. Sad is that now Dorsett admits he was wrong and wishes he did do what Preston Pearson did in his later stages.
    I am sorry, I love the idea of this position coming back into our scheme but I hate this it is this guy with all of his fumble issues. I am not happy this article did not talk about his fumble issues. People ask yourself, the Rams are really creative why would they let him go? Well you have your reason and they also said he was not “coachable.”
    That does not make me happy. I am all for re-creating the Landry style offense and it looks in some ways like we are beginning to do that. That would be music to my ears because out best offensive schemes and players were under Landry. I know many of you are wanting to start yelling to me about the Triplets and this is when I say shut up because under Landry, we were NOT predictable. Remember all of the talk we heard the past few years, “we’re predictable?” Yeah well that is what you get when you want to re-create the Triplets era all over again. Please in 90’s we were predictable it’s just that our talent was so massive you could not stop it. Well in 1997 they did and even before that. However under Landry we were NOT predictable and the ball was spread around so much more than the Triplets era. I see the type of receivers we are getting now. Players that beat you running routes, not players just be more physical to get open or a height size differential for jump balls. No, I see what they are wanting to do and I like it. Only question is, do we have the QB to execute it. Because Landry’s offense went down the field a lot more. Again it goes back to the receivers we are moving to. Drew Pearson, Tony Hill, Butch Johnson, Golden Richards, Doug Donley, Preston Pearson, Lance Alworth, Hayes etc. They beat you with speed and route running and that is what I see we are trying to re-create and THAT is the best sign in Cowboys football I have seen in two, close to three decades. We still have a 90’s era receiver in Noah Brown which I like,we just don’t have 3 more of him on the team. We need more speed in our offense, spread the ball around which leads to creativity and better route running. You know, it has been said that Coach Jason does not like gimmick plays and things of that nature. Well I call bullshit on that. Jason just never had those type of players to try and do these things. He did one time with our O and that was a pass by Dez. I think you will see a lot more creativity and gimmicks this season because of the players, style of players we are changing to. Oh I need to say this. We could have seen more creativity the past few years, especially last year with Ryan but we had a problem on our offense. Sadly that was #82 Jason Witten. Now I love Witten like every one else. Jason was an all time great. However Jason NEVER wanted to come off the field. He would not listen to our coaches when told to come off the field so we could not run 10 personnel packages, We could not go five wide because #82 refuses to come off the field. That is one thing I will not miss about Jason and it was hurting our football team. Now, we can be much ore creative.
    Question is, do you really want to do it with a guy that has fumbled 11 FRIGGIN TIMES IN 2 YEARS like Austin?? That should have been in the article.

    • Shane Gotcher

      May 7, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      That is an awesome post. Thank you for taking the time and sharing. I think you should be less worried about the fumbles because Austin will be getting the ball 4 to 7 times a game in Dallas. I really doubt that they are going to make him a legit “3rd down back”. Why would they, they have Elliot who is already one of the best 3rd down backs in the league? He’s only 22 years old and will have that long run threat for another 5 years or so. What Austin gives you is just what you hinted at with your Witten comments, they can go spread more often. This is good for Prescott who can make more quick reads and use his legs against a spread out defense. You might want this to be a more downfield offense but the truth is that Dak is not a good downfield passer. He’s not even the accurate short spread passer you (we) would like him to be, but he has young legs and makes quick decisions, and that’s why you want a player like Austin along with the other changes they made. This will be a different offense. Weirdly more like the Rams of old. Too bad for Austin that he missed out on that era with the Rams. I do think you are right that they should have gambled on Switzer for a similar roll, but this is just how the draft worked out. They got Austin for a steal, and that gave them a chance to add a DT that they had rated higher than anyone they could draft on the 3rd day. If Ward works out, the Cowboys won. If he doesn’t, you might be right that they should have rolled with Switzer.

  6. NC

    May 7, 2018 at 10:31 am


  7. Ervinlang318

    May 7, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I really Hope the Coaching Staff use him correctly and not just run out the same old predictable plays with better personnel

  8. Cowboysdude

    May 7, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Yes if they know how to use him…..which I’m 98% sure garrettkeet hasn’t a clue…

  9. Tommy Davis

    May 7, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Great article Brian, you’re absolutely right on. As for all the naysayers, it’s like I’ve been saying all along, folks within and outside of the Cowboys organization seems to have a problem when it comes to talented players. They would rather be average or below average, that’s why they will never compete with the upper echelon teams because those teams put the most talented players on the field.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Wide Receiver

Jess Haynie



Is WR Cole Beasley Being Underutilized? 1

The Dallas Cowboys' year in 2018 was marked by big moves at wide receiver. Dez Bryant was released in April and then a first-round pick was traded in October to add Amari Cooper. Could this 2019 offseason offer anything close to that level of activity?

Unlike last season, Dallas should enjoy some stability in its starting lineup at receiver. Cooper returns at a much higher price, with the $13.9 million cap hit from his fifth-year option coming into player. Amari cost just $412k against the Cowboys' salary cap last year.

That huge jump in cap cost may hurt but Cooper backed it up with his Pro Bowl play in 2018. The top WR contracts average $15-$17 million per year, so even now Dallas is arguably getting Amari at a bargain.

The Cowboys didn't give up a first-round pick for a year-and-a-half rental, so we can expect them to seek a long-term extension with Cooper in the near future. With the contracts of DeMarcus Lawrence and Dak Prescott more immediate concerns, any new deal for Amari probably won't come until the middle of the season or in 2020.

Not only is WR1 set for next year but Michael Gallup appears locked in as the other starter. Of his 68 targets last year, 40 came in the second half of the year. It was a great season for a third-round rookie, and there are high hopes for Gallup's development in his first full offseason.

The stability up front is a blessing for the Cowboys, but it doesn't relieve them of big decisions at the WR position this offseason. They face a particularly critical choice when it comes to the free agency of Cole Beasley.

Cole Beasley

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley

It's hard to believe Beasley's already been in Dallas for seven seasons. An undrafted gem, Cole has been one of the team's most reliable offensive players for some time. He led them in receiving in 2016 and has been one of the most efficient, QB-friendly options for the last several years.

Beasley's contract expiring this year is only one issue. He has become very vocal lately about wanting to be a bigger part of the offense. His targets dropped tremendously over the course of 2018, which was especially evident when Cole got just five total passes thrown his way in the two playoffs games.

If Beasley wants a larger role, does that also mean he wants more money? He was making a little over $3 million/season on his last deal.

With Gallup on a cheap rookie contract, Dallas could afford to pay raise Beasley's compensation a bit. But if they don't plan to use him more than they did last year, then perhaps the two parties just aren't a good fit at this point.

If Cole walks in free agency then the Cowboys will now have to find a new number-three receiver. The next best option would be Tavon Austin, but he is also a free agent. However, he could likely be re-signed for a fraction of what Beasley would want.

Austin has the physical skills to be an offensive weapon but he doesn't have the reliable hands that Beasley does. Even if Dallas wants Tavon back solely for his skills on punt returns, they may not be ready to make him a bigger part of the offense.

Could WR Noah Brown Help the Cowboys at Tight End?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown

One option might be promoting Noah Brown, whose at times has reminded us of a young Dez Bryant with his physical playing style. His blocking ability would lend itself to the single-back formations Dallas likes to run out of, and he's flashed some good hands in limited opportunities.

In that scenario Amari Cooper would likely play out of the slot, which he's certainly capable of with his quickness. The same would be done if Dallas went with another internal solution, such as Allen Hurns or Terrance Williams.

That said, the Cowboys are unlikely to pick up the second-year option on Hurns' contract, not wanting to pay him over $6 million in 2019 after last year's low production.  It also doesn't seem likely that they want to keep Williams after last year's issues.

Taking all of that into consideration, Dallas may very well be doing some WR shopping in free agency. Fortunately for them, it's a favorable market if you're looking for a slot receiver.

On top of Beasley and Austin already in the free agent pool, Golden Tate could at least match Cole's play if not potentially offer an upgrade. Baltimore's John Brown, Tampa's Adam Humphries, and Washington's Jamison Crowder are all other proven options. Emmanuel Sanders, while not currently a free agent, is a very possible cap casualty for the Broncos.

Guys like Humphries and Crowder are younger than Beasley and could provide better long-term value on their contract. That may be a more attractive option at this point for the Cowboys.

Lance Lenoir

Dallas Cowboys WR Lance Lenoir

Dallas won't need to add a lot of bodies at WR thanks to a few young prospects. They still have Lance Lenoir and Cedrick Wilson under contract, plus signed 2015 second-round pick Devin Smith as a potential rehabilitation project.

But again, these guys are all just bodies right now. Lenoir has had his opportunities and not done much with them, though he does offer some value as a potential return man. Wilson spent his rookie season on injured reserve.

The Cowboys could still look at a receiver with one of their mid-round draft picks, but it's hard to get much production early there. Last year's play from Michael Gallup was a surprise for a third-rounder.

It's far more likely that Dallas will either work things out with Cole Beasley or pursue a veteran replacement in free agency.

So no, thankfully, we don't have to worry about any monumental changes at the top of the WR depth chart in 2019. But Beasley was more than just a third receiver, and keeping or replacing him will have a significant impact on the offense going forward.

If Dallas is truly ready to commit to Dak Prescott as the quarterback of the future then they can't take anything about his receiving options lightly. Therefore, wide receiver remains an important offseason focus for the Cowboys in 2019.

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Dallas Cowboys

Defense, Not Offense, Should Be Dallas Cowboys Offseason Focus

John Williams



Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Last week our own Brian Martin asked whether offense or defense should be the priority for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. We know that the team will look to make some additions on both sides of the football to help their team take the next step toward hopefully contending for a Lombardi Trophy in 2019.

Brian took the stance that the Cowboys front office brain trust of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Will McClay along with Head Coach Jason Garrett should prioritize the offensive side of the football.

Here’s what he had to say:

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys really don't have any glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball either. After finishing as one of the top defensive units in 2018, they will have nearly all of their starters returning for the 2019 season. But much like on the offensive side of the ball, there could be two starting spots up for grabs...

...If Cole Beasley does indeed leave via free agency, that's a big blow to the passing game. But, it's not just him. Other than their rushing attack, the Cowboys offense was ranked in the bottom half of the league in nearly every other category. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan now gone we can hope that improves, but that doesn't mean improving the offense shouldn't be the Cowboys main offseason focus though.

Brian Martin - Inside The Star

I get his reasoning, though I disagree with the first point being made. Yes, the defense has a lot of really good players that are developing, but I think there a couple obvious areas where upgrades can be made. First, at safety, where Jeff Heath continues to be a frustrating player, as evidenced by the final play against the Rams. Secondly, the defensive tackle spot could definitely use an infusion of talent.

I believe the priority needs to continue to build on a defense that was surprisingly good, and downright dominant in their win over the New Orleans Saints, in 2018. However, despite finishing sixth in the NFL in points allowed, seventh in yards allowed, and fifth in rushing yards allowed, they were middle of the pack against the pass and had the sixth worst third down conversion percentage allowed.

They were a defense that got away with being excellent against the run and excellent in the red zone, allowing a touchdown only 51% of the time their opponent reached the red zone. They allowed the sixth fewest touchdowns in the NFL, and yet when they got into the playoffs, they weren’t nearly as good.

Sure, they held the Seattle Seahawks top ranked rushing attack in check for the game, holding them to only 73 rushing yards. The Seahawks threw for only 226 yards, but there offensive staff was insistent on running the football even though Russell Wilson was playing pretty well in the second half. The Seahawks were hitting the Cowboys for big plays that allowed them to make the game closer than it should have been. Had they tilted the run-pass ratio a bit more to put the ball in Russell Wilson's hands earlier in the game, it's possible that the game has a different outcome.

Against the Rams, we saw the Dallas Cowboys interior get bullied while both CJ Anderson and Todd Gurley rushed for more than 100 yards. Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods were good for a lot of the year as the primary defensive tackles for the Dallas Cowboys, but with them ailing because of injury and illness, the Cowboys didn't have many answers for the Rams offensive interior. Their ineffectiveness in the divisional round led to Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee being generally ineffective as well.

While the Dallas Cowboys can feel pretty good about what the defense did last season, there's no way they can go into the 2019 season satisfied with what they'll be working with. In addition to playing the their NFC East opponents twice, with the Eagles and Giants able to score points and the Redskins typically a tough matchup, they'll play the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Rams, the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans Saints, and the Detroit Lions. All of those teams are capable of scoring a lot of points if the defense isn't having its best day. Throw in teams like the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Chicago Bears, and you have three young offenses that are growing and fully capable of scoring points as well.

The Dallas Cowboys front office has to go into the offseason ready to make upgrades to their defensive personnel. With the safeties that are available this offseason -- Earl Thomas, Landon Collins, Tre Boston, Tyrann Mathieu, and several other intriguing names -- the Cowboys will have an opportunity to upgrade the safety position. Between the draft and free agency, defensive tackle will be a high priority position for the Cowboys.

I know that many are looking at the offense and the steps that they need to make moving forward to be legit contenders, and they do have some improvements to make, but they look to be a unit that is trending in the right direction. Some better coaching for Dak Prescott and the offense should help them moving forward. A full offseason for Dak to work with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz should improve the chemistry between Prescott and his top receiving threats.

Yes, there are areas that need to be upgraded on offense and they may have to deal with filling the gap left by Cole Beasley if he does leave. The front office, however, can't go into the offseason satisfied with where they sit on the defensive side of the football. They are building something and are a couple of pieces away from having a truly elite defense. Finding those couple of pieces -- a safety and a pass rushing defensive tackle -- are of the utmost priority this offseason if the Dallas Cowboys want to head back to the postseason in 2019.

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

A season after Jason Witten's retirement, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need at tight end. Replacing a future Hall of Famer is no easy feat so it's only logical that it would take longer than a season to feel good about who's in at tight end.

The Cowboys currently have two tight ends who could be pretty serviceable going forward. Fourth round pick Dalton Schultz did a very solid job as the team's TE2, specially toward the second half of the season. He turned into a pretty good run blocker and despite only racking up 116 yards in 12 catches, he's a guy the Cowboys' offense could use even more in the future.

Also on the team is Blake Jarwin, who functioned as the Cowboys' main tight end for most of 2018. His performance against the New York Giants in week 17 made us wonder whether or not he could be an important target on the Cowboys' offense.

These two could very well have more in them than what we've seen. With a new offensive coordinator in town, tight end is a position the Cowboys could start using way more. As Bobby Belt pointed out on Twitter a few weeks ago, Scott Linehan's offense doesn't benefit tight ends very much. Before we give a verdict on what Schultz and Jarwin can do, I'd like to see them work with Kellen Moore's offense.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.

Here's the thing. If the Cowboys are not taking a tight end in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, are they really upgrading what they already have? I'm not sure we'll be convinced about that if they draft a player for the position until the third or fourth round. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for the Cowboys drafting a TE in the second round, because I believe there are more pressing needs on the team. However, signing a veteran free agent might be the better option for upgrading the position.

Should a veteran TE be an option?

This year, there are quite a few interesting names in the tight end market. Veterans such as Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and even Antonio Gates will be looking for a new team pretty soon. I know, that would be "getting older." But it could also mean getting better. Building a solid TE committee with a veteran leading Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz could be the way to go for this football team.

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency? 1

TE Tyler Eifert (Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports)

Eifert is a great tight end... when he's on the field. Durability is his biggest weakness, as he hasn't played more than 10 games since 2016. The Cowboys could take a risk on him and constantly rotate him with Jarwin and Schultz. It may be a huge risk, but it could pay off big time. If the price is right, Eifert should be targeted by the front office.

The 2018 Oakland Raiders had a season to forget, winning only four games. Even still, Jared Cook's season was impressive. He finished the year with 896 yards and multiple 100-yard games. The biggest issue with Cook is his age. He turns 32 in April. But hey, he's literally coming off from a career year.

Jesse James is a younger guy who could also be worth it. He's not an a potent receiver, but he gets it done in the passing game and is one hell of a blocker. James could be a legit, cheaper option for the Cowboys in free agency.

There are a lot of names out there the front office could look at. Charles Clay was just released by the Buffalo Bills and Nick Boyle will be looking for new job after new arrivals pushed him out of the Baltimore Ravens' roster just to mention a few names.

We'll see what the front office's plans are soon enough, but right now, I'd say tight end is a need the Dallas Cowboys should at least try to address in free agency instead of the NFL Draft.

Tell me what you think about "Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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