Jason Witten has become the "old man" on the Dallas Cowboys youthful roster. More than anybody else, he was probably hit the hardest with the devastating loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The heartache he felt after Sunday's game even put thoughts of retirement in his mind, but fortunately that was short-lived, which means he will be back next season.
Witten knows that his window to win a championship in the NFL is nearly shut and that he might have missed an opportunity this year. But, he also knows that this team is building special, which probably is the big reason he decided to return for his last year under contract with the Cowboys.
Yes, you read that right. Witten has one more year under contract with the Cowboys. And for me, having to think about saying goodbye to one of my all-time favorite players is bittersweet.
Much like his best friend, Tony Romo, Jason Witten epitomizes the type of player the Dallas Cowboys want on their team. He has always been a team-first player and puts everything he has into being the best football player, and person, he can possibly be.
For the Dallas Cowboys, it might be the perfect time to find his replacement before he decides to fade into the shadows of retirement.
The 2017 draft class is deep at the tight end position. The Cowboys might not have a better opportunity to find someone who can that can learn under Jason Witten's tutelage for a year before taking over full-time.
Can you just imagine the amount of knowledge Witten can provide to a young player?
Unfortunately, I don't think Witten's heir apparent is currently on the Cowboys roster. The only tight ends under contract next season, with the exception of Witten, are Geoff Swaim, James Hanna, and Rico Gathers.
Hanna and Swaim are good players in their own right, but I don't think either of them are what the Cowboys really want in a starting tight end. Rico Gathers could possibly turn into the starter in the future, but I still think he needs time to develop his skill set.
To me, the draft might be the best option available for the Dallas Cowboys to find Jason Witten's replacement.
There are several tight ends that could pique the Cowboys interest in the first several rounds, but there are others later in the draft as well. Honestly, I wouldn't mind them drafting one in the first few rounds.
O.J. Howard (Alabama) would be my preferred choice, but it's unlikely he will still be available when the Cowboys are on the clock with their first round selection.
The Dallas Cowboys have shown in the past that they like drafting their tight ends in the second round (Anthony Fasano, Martellus Bennett, and Gavin Escobar). They have also shown that they aren't afraid to take a chance on an injured player. That is why Jake Butt (Michigan) makes a lot of sense. He could still be on the board for the Cowboys in the second round.
Butt would probably have to redshirt his rookie season because of the knee injury he sustained in Michigan's bowl game (sound familiar). The Cowboys took this approach last year with Jaylon Smith, but they might not be willing to do that two years in a row.
Howard and Butt are my two favorite tight ends in this draft, but like I mentioned earlier, this is a deep tight end draft class. The Cowboys could find their future starting TE in almost any round. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until April to see how things turn out.
Do you think it's time to find Jason Witten's replacement?
Please for free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
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.
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... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
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.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB 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: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
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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