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Jason Witten: 2nd Best TE of All-Time; Stats Don’t Lie

John Williams



Jason Witten

I recently replied to the great Ed Werder (formerly of ESPN) regarding Jason Witten's potential as a first ballot hall of famer.

The Other John Williams ✭ on Twitter

@EdwerderRFA True, but when you're in the elite of elite company at a position, it makes sense. Maybe only 1 TE better than Witten in the history of NFL.

And I got killed for it.

Ed Werder on Twitter

Kellen Winslow? Tony Gonzalez? Shannon Sharpe? Rob Gronkowski?

Ben Millett on Twitter

This..... now this is a HOT take!

Anthony Nash on Twitter

There's a lot more than 1.

Jon on Twitter

Lmao Witten is the only Cowboy I respect but he's not even close to the 2nd best TE of all time man

Jason Witten just might be the Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Cowboys, vastly underrated and highly disrespected. He isn't flashy or fancy, but his numbers speak for themselves.

So let's look at those numbers.

In receptions, Witten has the second most receptions by a tight end of all-time. Including wide receivers, Witten currently ranks 7th in career receptions behind; Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez,  Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, and Tim Brown. He's sitting in front of Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne, and Randy Moss.

Witten has averaged 70 catches per season over the last three seasons and needs only 14 receptions to move up to 4th all-time in career receptions.

To Mr. Werder's point about Kellen Winslow, he has less than half as many receptions as Jason Witten has. When it's all said and done, Witten will have 300 more receptions than Shannon Sharpe.

In career receiving yards, Witten sits only behind Tony Gonzalez at the tight end position.

With a modest 700 receiving yards in 2017, Witten will sit 21st among all pass catchers in receiving yards. Antonio Gates, who came into the league the same year as Witten, sits roughly 700 yards behind Witten.

Touchdowns is where Witten falls behind some of the great tight ends of his era. He's fourth at the position in touchdown receptions behind Gonzalez, Gates, and Rob Gronkowski. Witten, however, scored more touchdowns than Winslow and Sharpe.

Here is what separates Witten from the rest: Availability.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys History: Jason Witten Is Easily Greatest 82 Ever 2

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten #82

Of the possible games that Witten could have played since his rookie season in 2003, Witt has played in 99.5% of those games. He's only missed one game in his entire career. Witten has played in every game since week five of 2003. That's 219 consecutive games played. No active non-kicker has played in as many games in a row as Jason Witten.

Since 2004, Witten has started all but two games. He played in those games, just wasn't part of the starting lineup. He's been a starter for 99% of his team's games since 2004 and has started a total of 95% of the games since he's been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

Tony Gonzalez started 94% of his possible games and missed two games during his illustrious career.

Antonio Gates has missed 20 games throughout his career. Meaning he's only played in 91% of his team's games, starting only 82.5% of those games.

For Rob Gronkowski, the cream of the tight end crop today, the numbers are a bit more alarming. In seven seasons Gronkowski has only played 16 games twice in his career. He's only played in 78% of his team's 112 games since coming into the league. While he has been a dynamic player, his lack of availability--to me--hurts his status as one of the greats of all-time.

Regarding Winslow again, he missed a ton of time in his career. He played in only 75% of his team's possible 144 games over his nine-year career. You can't be considered one of the greatest if you aren't on the field. Three times in his nine-year career Winslow played nine or fewer games.

Shannon Sharpe started only 75% of the games that his teams played and was only available for 91% of those games.

Jason Witten has never been the flashiest player at the tight end position. He isn't going to dunk on the goal posts like Tony Gonzalez or Jimmy Graham. He isn't going to make headlines for Gronk being Gronk antics. He is going to be steady and available.

What Witten has been over the course of his career is one of the most reliable players in the history of the NFL.

Just ask Tony Romo.

I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

  • Fatfan

    For those who don’t get blinded by the bright lights of the glit and the glam, they can truly see the value of Jason Witten, AND not only on the field, but from all the reports from the media, and the players, he’s an MVP even in the offseason. It was Witten who helped Demarco Murray reach his full potential, and Murray has given him credit for it. Murray has gone as far as to tell young guys coming in, “if you wanna be successful, mirror Jason (paraphrased). Witten is the guy who leads in the locker-room, and everyone baller worth his weight follows him. Prescott learned that early on while still battling showers for the 3rd Qb position. Witten wasn’t always good at blocking; but he worked at it tpo become the complete TE, unlike the other TE he is compared to. He has never been fast; but he gets open and gets first downs by outsmarting the D. The NFL made up a rule about plays being dead once the helmet comes off, just so he wouldn’t embarrass and posterize the NFC East chumps anymore. (ok, a little hyperbole, but not much) Witten deserves Ring of Honor accolades the moment he retires, and Hall of Fame accolades 5y later. No question about it for me.

    • John Williams

      Not too much Hyperbole, imo.

      Witten has been killing the league for a decade plus and that Eagles moment will be the key highlight in the Jason Witten Hall of Fame highlight video.

      For anyone to consider him anything less than top 2 has some Cowboys blinders on.

  • Kevin Black

    I find it interesting that all the players people consider better than Witten are all pass-catching tight ends. TE is not a glorified tall receiver. TE requires more than that and I say he’s the best TRUE tight end in the game… ever. Gates, Winslow and even the great Tony Gonzalez all remarked about how complete Witten is and how much they admired that about him. Witten made himself into the best player on the field most Sundays and played almost every stinking down of them. You only want pass catchers, then Witten is still in the top 5, but you add everything else he does on the field and he’s top 1 or 2. You add his off-the-field stuff and there’s no competition.

    The reason no one talks about it outside of Dallas fans is Witten doesn’t blow his own horn. That’s on us as fans. We need to fix this. Witten deserves no less.

    • John Williams

      You’re absolutely right. Witten has been so under the radar by the average fan because he doesn’t make a ton of big plays, especially at this point in his career.

      He does everything well.

      • Kevin Black

        He might not make a ton of splash plays, but when you need that first down or a sure-handed reception, he always comes through.

        • John Williams

          absolutely. He has been the epitome of clutch. I think back to the Pittsburgh game. Time and again on the final drive, Dak was finding Witten in the middle of the field.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving

En una agencia libre muy callada de parte de los Dallas Cowboys, como es costumbre, lo más interesante hasta ahora se revuelve alrededor de un talento increíble en la línea defensiva: David Irving. El joven de la línea defensiva de Dallas recibió un tender de segunda ronda (con un costo de casi tres millones de dólares) de parte de los Cowboys, lo cual significa que vestirá la Estrella Solitaria un año más... ¿o no?

No, no es tan sencillo.

A diferencia de la etiqueta franquicia que recibió DeMarcus Lawrence hace unas semanas, un tender permite a un jugador recibir ofertas de otros equipos. Si Irving llega a recibir una oferta externa, sin embargo, los Cowboys tienen la oportunidad de igualarla.

Pero no sólo eso, sino que si no quieren igualar la oferta, pueden dejar ir al jugador y en cambio, el otro equipo tiene que compensar a los Cowboys con una selección de segunda ronda. Así como el tender de segunda ronda que se le otorgó a David Irving, hay tender de primera ronda o tender de "selección original."

Sin embargo, Irving no fue seleccionado en el NFL Draft, así que esta última opción hubiera tenido poco sentido.

David Irving, Redskins

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving

Ahora, pensando en el 2018 y una temporada ya incierta, nos sentamos preguntando: ¿No valía la pena cubrir a Irving con un tender de primera ronda? Al final de cuentas, sólo hay aproximadamente un millón de diferencia entre ambos. Irving es un jugador lleno de talento, y podría llegar a estar entre los mejores en su posición próximamente.

Sin embargo, si somos honestos, es una buena decisión de la administración. Irving ha tenido sus cuantos problemas y quizá este tender ayude a definir su valor en el mercado. Si ningún equipo alrededor de la liga se atreve a ofrecerle un contrato, los Cowboys mejoran su posición en las negociaciones y quien sabe, quizá consigan un acuerdo más amigable para el equipo.

Además, si un equipo decide llevárselo... ¿qué tan malo sería?

Con el pick #19 en la primera ronda del Draft de la NFL, no están en una posición muy cómoda. Como bien algún jugador talentoso como el DT Vita Vea o el WR Calvin Ridley pueden caer a las manos de Stephen Jones, Will McClay y compañía, bien puede estar vacía la tabla.

Con jugadores como el S de Florida State Derwin James o el LB de Georgia Roquan Smith, deberían considerar realizar un trade para subir algunas selecciones y llevarse a uno de estos talentos que no estarán disponibles en el #19.

Con las selecciones globales 19, 50 y una segunda ronda extra que conseguirían por Irving, es fácil visualizar a este equipo dispuesto a hacer un movimiento así el día del Draft.

A pesar de una mala temporada en el 2017, los Dallas Cowboys son un equipo que están cerca de ser contendientes.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Star Blog

Cowboys Free Agency: FB Keith Smith Signing with Raiders

Jess Haynie



Keith Smith: Will The Cowboys Carry A Fullback In 2017?

The Cowboys have lost an important role player from the offense as fullback Keith Smith is reportedly signing with the Oakland Raiders.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Raiders and FB Keith Smith have agreed to terms on a 2-year worth $4.2million, source said.

Smith, who has been with Dallas for four seasons, was the team's fullback the last two seasons. He started as a linebacker after going undrafted in 2014.

Whether on offense or defense, Keith has been a regular part of the special teams units. The Cowboys' previous special teams coach, Rich Bisaccia, just left this offseason to join the coaching staff in Oakland. That is a likely cause for Smith heading to the Raiders.

Dallas elected not to give Smith a restricted free agent tender, which made sense given his position. Even the lowest tender of $1.9 million would have been too rich for a part-time player.

Even with Keith gone, Dallas may not need to sign a new fullback. Backup RB Rod Smith has experience in that role. They could also use tight ends James Hanna or Geoff Swaim.

Fullback is obviously not the position it used to be in the days of Daryl Johnston, but there are still times you need that lead blocker out of the backfield. Given their reliance on the run game and the success that Ezekiel Elliott had with Keith Smith, Dallas will have to find a solid replacement plan.

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Star Blog

Will Another Team Snag David Irving Away From Cowboys?

Brian Martin



Cowboys' Pass Rush: Who Will Be QB Sack Leader In 2017?
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It was somewhat surprising to learn that the Dallas Cowboys only placed a second-round tender on David Irving. A first-round tender would have likely dissuaded any other team from signing him to a contract and giving up a first-round draft pick, but signing Irving to a contract and giving up a second-draft pick is much more plausible.

I can almost guarantee there are teams around the league right now who are discussing the pros and cons of trying to acquire David Irving. The Dallas Cowboys likely know this which means one of two things:

  1. The Cowboys are hoping someone sets David Irving's market value with the hopes of matching.
  2. The Cowboys are willing to part ways with Irving for a second-round draft pick.

There are teams out there who have more salary-cap space than the Dallas Cowboys who could easily sign him to a contract the Cowboys can't match. And, giving up a second-round draft pick for a dominating, yet inconsistent, defensive tackle is probably better than anyone they can draft.

It's not completely out of the realm of possibility Cowboys fans have seen the last of David Irving with a star on his helmet. But, it seems like a risk Dallas is willing to take, whether fans agree or not.

David Irving

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving

In 2017, David Irving recorded 22 tackles, seven quarterback sacks, six passes defensed, and one forced fumble. He did this after missing the first four games of the season due to a suspension and the last four due to a concussion. That's pretty impressive!

There is no denying Irving's impact when he's on the field, but it's all the other stuff that makes Dallas hesitant to commit fully to the 24-year-old DT.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I know what kind of person David Irving is in the locker room or off the field, but his past behavior and inconsistencies are concerning. Yes, he has immense upside, but that doesn't look as if it's enough for the Dallas Cowboys, at least not yet.

I think this ultimately comes down to the Cowboys not fully trusting David Irving just yet. Placing the second-round tender on him is more of a "prove it" kind of deal, if another team doesn't sign him away. The Cowboys probably want to see he has his head on straight and more consistency before fully committing. It's completely understandable.

It just doesn't seem as if David Irving is in the long-term plans for the Dallas Cowboys right now. I think they would be perfectly content receiving a second-round draft pick, but that decision might not sit well with a lot of Cowboys fans.

There is really no way of knowing if another NFL team will snag David Irving away, but I think the possibility of that happening is pretty high.

Will David Irving remain in Dallas in 2018?

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