If there's one thing we've learned throughout Jason Witten's career, it's that it's tough to keep him off the field. Even still, FOX Sports is giving it a shot. Reportedly, according to Sporting News, the Dallas Cowboys' veteran is being eyed by FOX to take over the "Thursday Night Football" analyst role.
Many former Cowboys have gotten into the show business side of the NFL. Just last year, Tony Romo hung up the cleats to pursue a career in broadcasting and he absolutely killed it during his "rookie season" for CBS.
But Jason Witten isn't going through the same situation in which Romo found himself in 2017. Tony had dealt with a lot of serious injuries throughout his career and had just been benched by Dak Prescott. Witten, despite being 35-years old, is the team's starting tight end.
After the 2017 NFL season ended, Witten told the media he's playing in 2018.
With free agency beginning this week, the future Hall of Famer has been in the minds of a lot of fans. If the Cowboys were to release him, they'd save $6.95M without a single dollar in dead money. With Witten's production declining little by little and the team lacking cap space, one inevitably has to wonder.
At the end of the day, if we're talking about Dez Bryant's cap hit and lack of production, why are not talking about Jason Witten?
Trust me, I know and I understand why. Heck, Jason Witten is my favorite player of all time and I'm sure he has a very special place in all of Cowboys fans' hearts. It would be very, very painful to see him call it a career without a much-deserved ring.
It's tough to part ways with a player like Jason Witten, who has meant so much for an NFL franchise that has struggled a lot for such a long time. Since the moment he got to Dallas, Witten has been the Dallas Cowboy.
However you feel about his performance the last couple of years, he probably won't go anywhere unless he decides to retire. I might be wrong, ultimately the NFL is a business and that's something we shouldn't forget. Witten has been important for this offense and for Dak Prescott's development, but it's time for the Cowboys to get younger and better at tight end.
Even still, without Witten, there's really no one who can come in and fill his shoes. Although Rico Gathers would make for an amazing story, it's fair to assume he won't be nothing special. The tight end free agents this year mostly offer older veterans who wouldn't make sense for the Cowboys if what they're looking for is getting younger.
Trey Burton from the Philadelphia Eagles could be an interesting target for this team if they can get him at a fair price.
Other than that, if they want to acquire the team's future tight end, they'll have to do it through the Draft, which they'll probably do. Having Witten on the roster allows the team to look for a TE in the third round or later, but without Witten, it'd become an even bigger need.
The solution, rather than getting rid of Jason Witten altogether, may be in establishing a game plan which reduces the veteran's workload while giving a younger tight end an important role, especially as a receiving threat. Similar to what the Chargers have done with Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry.
For now, Jason Witten will get ready to get back on the field next season, the Cowboys will make some hard decisions and FOX Sports will try to land yet another America's Team legend. It looks like Witten will stick to football for at least one more year, though. Hopefully, this time, it's worth it. Hopefully, this year he wins the Big One.
Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline
This week, Stephen Jones discussed the difficulties of making a trade, saying "it just seems like in the NFL trades are hard to make, to make it all come together for two teams".
The two teams that could be lining up to change that are of course Jones' Cowboys as well as John Gruden's Oakland Raiders. Yet another Raiders player has been in the headlines as a trade target, 24-year old Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.
WR-needy Cowboys doing their due diligence on Raiders' WR Amari Cooper: https://t.co/pE2wmrzCXu
Playing at the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys will have yet another reshuffled lineup at wide receiver, playing without Tavon Austin. Their biggest offseason addition to this unit was Allen Hurns, and he's been underwhelming with just eight catches.
Thus the Cowboys are reportedly doing their "due diligence" on Cooper, sensing the need for a mid-season acquisition at WR for the right price. The Cowboys ability to potentially find that price in a deal advantageous to them, given how the Raiders handled the departure of Khalil Mack in a trade to this Chicago Bears, is what makes this story relevant.
A lot has been said about Cooper since his name emerged as the latest player potentially out of the Bay Area. Whether you believe he's still an impact receiver with the potential to regain his Pro Bowl form of 2015 and 2016 or one that "doesn't love football," as some have been inclined to say, the former fourth overall pick represents an investment into the WR position that the Cowboys have not made in some time.
In those Pro Bowl seasons, Cooper averaged over 77 catches a season while putting up over 1,000 yards in both. The Raiders have used this to justify their reported asking price of a first-round pick for Cooper, something the Cowboys are not alone in their reluctance to give.
With Cooper, the Raiders are holding onto their last bit of relevancy. A reeling 1-5 football team that needs to maximize their return on trading Cooper, the Colts and Redskins are also following in the Cowboys footsteps by preparing as much as they can on the player.
Cooper has caught 22 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown through six games this season.
For as desperate as the Raiders are to jump-start their organization, the Cowboys should be just as desperate to add a threat like Cooper to their passing attack. Unlike the Raiders, they're in the hunt for a division title, something much harder to put a price on when it comes to the Jones' finalizing any deal for Cooper in the coming days.
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 30th, at 3 PM Central Time. The Cowboys will be two days into their bye week, not in action again after Sunday until November 5th.
Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Skipping Surgery, May Return in 2018
A groin injury sustained last week against Jacksonville won't send Tavon Austin to injured reserve, at least for now. The Dallas Cowboys receiver has elected to forego surgery at this time, giving him a chance to return to action in 2018.
There was concern that Austin could land on IR initially following the Jaguars game, but he sought a second opinion this week. It appears that this new information was enough for Tavon and the Cowboys to decide that surgery can wait.
Sounds like WR Tavon Austin will not have surgery at this time after getting a second opinion on his groin injury. He could miss a few weeks, however. #cowboyswire
Austin should miss this Sunday's game with the Washington Redskins. He has been the team's punt returner this season and a useful tool on offense, playing mostly receiver but also lining up the backfield at times.
Despite his limited opportunities, Tavon is tied with Cole Beasley for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns in 2018.
How long Austin will remain out is unknown at this time. After the Washington game, Dallas will have their bye week and then host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.
Both of these are games that the Cowboys, feeling good after a blowout victory over Jacksonville, should be able to win without Austin. But they would certainly like him back for the Week 10 road game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Tavon's absence, Cole Beasley will likely field punts. We may see more of Deonte Thompson in the speed routes that Austin ran on offense, though Dallas could also finally see what recently returned Brice Butler has to offer.
With an expiring contract this year, Tavon will likely want to get back soon and trying to improve his stock for the 2019 offseason. Hopefully, he can still have a positive impact on his value and the Cowboys season in the weeks ahead.
Terrance Williams: Details, Impact of 3-Game Suspension
Terrance Williams was already missing games on injured reserve, but now the Dallas Cowboys receivers is going to lose some money as well. Williams was finally hit with a three-game suspension by the NFL, starting immediately, for his public intoxication arrest last May.
Dallas placed Terrance on IR in Week 5 just a day before their game against the Houston Texans. Williams had been struggling with a foot issue since the offseason, which included a surgery that he hadn't fully recovered from.
Many were surprised that Williams wasn't suspended to start the season, given that his arrest occurred several months prior. But when charges were eventually dropped after Terrance took part in some required alcohol education courses, it appeared the league might be letting the issue go.
However, as Cowboys fans know all too well, Roger Goodell's NFL operates its own judicial system.
In Williams' case, the suspension will only result in lost game checks. Players still get paid when on IR, but Terrance will lose that amount of his $3.5 million base salary.
Because he can serve the suspension while injured, Terrance will still be eligible to be recalled from injured reserve in December after sitting the mandatory weeks.
The real issue for Williams now is how this event, and his general fall from grace in the Cowboys offense, will affect him in the next offseason.
Terrance is in just the second season of a four-year, $17 million contract he signed in 2017. If he's released after this year, Dallas would save $2.25 million of his scheduled $4.75 million cap hit in 2019.
Williams' cap hit isn't the issue by itself. That would be a bargain for a significant contributor in your offense, even if he was just the third receiver.
But Terrance appears to have fallen well below that spot on the depth chart. Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, and Michael Gallup are the top three receivers these days, and veteran Deonte Thompson has also been getting looks. Dallas also brought back Brice Butler a few weeks ago, though he hasn't really been worked in yet.
Not only that, but the Cowboys will have the option to recall Noah Brown from IR in just a few more weeks. He was one of their more intriguing young prospects prior to getting hurt.
Dallas could let Terrance come back next year to compete, hopefully with full health and less personal baggage. But after six seasons, they may be ready to move on to players with more room to grow.
For now, though, Terrance Williams is out of action and out some money. We'll see what the future holds.
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