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Jason Witten: How Much Longer Can He Go?

Jess Haynie

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Jason Witten

In an otherwise miserable season for the Dallas Cowboys, tight end Jason Witten reached several positive milestones.

  • Cowboys Headlines - In What Round Will The Dallas Cowboys Draft A Tight End?

    Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Nov 22 – Witten passed Bob Lily to become the Cowboys’ all-time “iron man,” playing in 196 consecutive games.

  • Dec 7 – He caught his 1,000th career reception, becoming only the 12th player and second TE to hit that mark.
  • Dec 27 – Witten broke Michael Irvin’s Cowboys record with his 188th consecutive game with a reception.

Without question, Jason Witten will one day sit in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor and get a bust in Canton. As this stalwart enters his 14th professional season, you have to start wondering how far off those enshrinement ceremonies really are. How much longer can Witten keep playing?

Witten turned 34 last May and hasn’t missed a game since the 2004 season. He has played in 214 total games and started all but 11 of them. He has been a full-time fixture of the offense during his tenure and missed very few plays.

Any Cowboys fans with clear, objective vision can see that Witten is slowing down. He’s still highly effective because his precise routes and chemistry with Tony Romo. Even last year, with backup quarterbacks playing 75% of the season, Witten remained a go-to option and led the team in receptions.

Check out this Top 10 highlight reel from Jason Witten’s 2015 season:

Top 10 Jason Witten Plays of 2015 | #TopTenTuesdays | NFL

It’s #TopTenTuesdays! Check out the top 10 plays from veteran Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten during the 2015 NFL Season. Subscribe to NFL: http://j.mp/1L0bVBu Keep up with NFL every day of the week!

The Jason Witten who once streaked down the field without a helmet doesn’t have those same wheels anymore. Still, as the video shows, he can get open and make the tough catches in traffic. That kind of player can last a long time.

Just ask Tony Gonzalez, the only other TE to be in the 1,000 Catch Club. He played 17 seasons and retired at age 37, having played in all about two games out of those years. Even in his final seasons, Gonzalez never had less than 80 catches.

There will never be a reason to not have Jason Witten around. Some want to link him and Romo together in terms of projected longevity, assuming they will want to retire together. But Romo’s health issues put him in a much different place right now than Witten, who has had very few known medical problems.

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AP Photo/Sharon Ellman

Romo (36) is not only two years older than Witten (34) but has chronic back issues that could prompt a retirement at almost any point. At his age it wouldn’t even be considered an “early” exit from football. If his back problems flare up again in 2016, Romo could easily decide to protect his long-term future and end his career.

Nobody knows how much longer Jason Witten sees himself playing football. But the idea that he will want to walk away when Romo does seems a gross assumption. I could just as easily seen Witten, a natural leader with a likely future in coaching, wanting to stick around to help the next Cowboys quarterback make a smooth transition.

Also, it’s not like Dallas has anyone else coming for Witten’s job. Gavin Escobar is close to earning the bust label as he enters his the final year of his rookie deal. The Cowboys just re-signed James Hanna, more of a backup and special teams player, to a three-year deal paying him about $2.5 million per season.

One thing to consider, as it always is in the NFL, is money. Jason Witten’s contract expires after the 2017 season. That year he will count $9.5 million against the cap and the Cowboys could get back $7.4 million of that if he’s released. That’s a huge chunk of change, and Dallas may be looking for some funds if Romo’s still around and they have other moves they need to make.

It’s easy to assume that Dallas would never cut Witten, but there was a time when we’d have probably thought the same about DeMarcus Ware. Ultimately, the Cowboys weighed cost effectiveness and parted ways with Ware despite him being a locker room leader and consummate professional. Sound like someone we know?

I’d like to think that Jason Witten will, no matter how long he plays, always have a star on his helmet. I would’ve loved the same for DeMarcus Ware. But time has proven that the business end will almost always prevail. No player is untouchable.

Don’t believe me?

Cowboys Headlines - Jason Witten: How Much Longer Can He Go?

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Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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WR Brice Butler Makes Waves With Controversial Comments

Kevin Brady

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Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys: By the Numbers

Heading into this 2018 offseason, the Dallas Cowboys have to answer some critical questions about their wide receiver corps.

  • Is Dez Bryant still worthy of being labeled/targeted as a number one receiver?
  • Is Ryan Switzer ready to dethrone Cole Beasley as the team’s starting slot receiver?
  • What in the world do you do with Terrance Williams?
  • And, lastly, do you bring back last year’s WR4 Brice Butler?

Well, it appears that final question answered itself earlier this week.

Free agent wide out Brice Butler took to Fox Sports to voice his opinions on his future with the Cowboys, stating that if he isn’t going to be a starter, he isn’t going to come back at all.

“I think in this league, when you think about the business aspect, you’ve got to follow the money trail… Both of our starters made money. Terrance [Williams] just got paid last year. So there were times where I was like, ‘I’m making plays, aren’t we trying to win games? Why am I not on the field?’ But that’s the only thing that I can really think of.” -Brice Butler

Butler also made waves with a comment on Fox’s Undisputed, claiming that if given the same chances as Dez Bryant, he would have been more productive than Bryant was this season.

I am totally for a player getting the money he feels he deserves, and I wasn’t really “for” the Cowboys bringing back Butler anyway, but he probably sealed his fate In Dallas with his comments. This is the same team that cut Lucky Whitehead last offseason to send a message, and has tried to “clean up” their locker room with the “right kind of guys” lately, so it’d be hard to imagine them re-signing Butler now.

Even though I don’t think it’s that outlandish of a comment for him to make. I mean, why shouldn’t he want an opportunity to start somewhere? Unfortunately for Butler, I doubt that opportunity is in Dallas.

Plus, we all thought Butler should’ve gotten more chances during his time here, dating back to the disastrous season in 2015. And when he did get chances, Butler showed flashes of how valuable he can be.

Still, I think the Cowboys should draft a wide out to be their much-needed Z receiver, and signing Butler would just add to the log jam of pretty mediocre players at the position already.

Could Brice Butler have been more productive than Bryant? I guess we’ll never know. But it’s astounding how this rather average football team cannot help but make the news each and every day.

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Straight Outta Dallas: Cole Beasley Releases His First Rap Single

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Straight Outta Dallas: Cole Beasley Releases His First Rap Single
Getty Images / Ronald Martinez

During an offseason filled with concerns for Cowboys Nation, Cole Beasley sure helped fans take their minds off coaching changes, free agency and draft prospects for a moment. Bease took Twitter by storm when he tweeted a link to his first single as a rapper… yes, you read that right.

Cole Beasley: an NFL Wide Receiver by Day, Rapper by Night

Cole Beasley on Twitter

80 Stings – Single by Cole Beasley on Apple Music

Listen to songs from the album 80 Stings – Single, including “80 Stings”. Buy the album for $0.99. Songs start at $0.99. Free with Apple Music subscription.

“ColdNation Records” is the name of the company Beasley created alongside music producer Victor Clark, to release his first single. You can listen to “80 Stings” on iTunes, Spotify and just about every digital store, as the tweet above mentions.

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know what to expect. But when I turned the volume up and played the song for the first time, I was surprised. It’s awesome.

When Beasley caught that football behind his helmet versus the Giants back in week 1, I thought “man, that’s it. Beasley can’t surprise me anymore.” Well, he proved me wrong.

“80 Stings” isn’t only performed by him, but also written by him.

It turns out Cole Beasley has been writing since he was in college. And if you already listened to the single, you know he’s awesome at composing, and his flow is actually very quick.

The whole song is pretty entertaining, but it does have some verses that stick out more than others. We all know Beasley has been an underdog his entire football career, so it comes as no surprise that he introduces himself as “Mr. Slept On”, for instance.

Throughout the song, the 28-year-old receiver shouts out his wife and his children (and the fact he’s saving money for when they go to college, something we had already seen him proudly mentioning on Twitter.)

Jerry Jones and Dak Prescott both got their own name-drops on Beasley’s “80 Stings”, too.

“But Sunday, Jerry’s boss now,

I’m a dog when Dak get the ball out,

Pull the sauce out…”

– Cole Beasley on his first single, “80 Stings”

The rest of the album, according to “Killa Beasley”, will be released this Spring.

Cole Beasley insisted this is just a passion and that in no way will it affect his football career. So, really… don’t worry about it. Just enjoy this awesome thing he decided to share with his fans.

This time of the season can be sort of stressing for Cowboys Nation. A lot of changes in the coaching staff that may not be the desired ones, a lot of players Dallas needs to bring back, and just the aftermath of a disappointing 9-7 season.

It’s nice to have something like this to talk about, for a few days at least.

From all of Cowboys Nation, congratulations on this achievement, Mr. Slept On!

Tell me what you think about “Straight Outta Dallas: Cole Beasley Releases His First Rap Single” 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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RG Zack Martin, DT Maliek Collins Undergo Successful Surgeries

Sean Martin

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Zack Martin

With the NFL Draft, free agency, and of course the ongoing playoffs, providing so much for fans everywhere to focus on, it can be easy to forget that recovery is one of the most critical aspects of every team’s offseason. After the grind of a 17-week season, the Cowboys are recovering — both physically and mentally — as they slowly turn their attention towards building their 2018 roster.

Starting RG Zack Martin and DT Maliek Collins are both expected starters at their respective positions next year, and both players are now coming off of offseason surgery.

Zack Martin, whose name will remain in headlines through the spring as the Cowboys look to sign their franchise RG to a long-term deal, underwent successful elbow surgery. This will cause Martin to miss this month’s Pro Bowl, which he was named to for the fourth time in four years.

LT Tyron Smith is also not expected to play in the Pro Bowl.

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/950846277071396864

In what was an inconsistent season for the Cowboys’ offensive line in performance, health, and cohesiveness, Zack Martin and this minor procedure should be the least of Dallas’ worries. The expectation is, of course, that #70 will be just fine to lead the way for Ezekiel Elliott moving forward, and likely paid considerably more by the time he takes the field again.

For DT Maliek Collins, it was surgery on his left foot that was minor enough to wait until the offseason — although the injury did appear for Collins on the team’s weekly injury reports throughout the season.

With David Irving effectively losing his 2017 season — a four-game suspension followed by a lingering concussion — Collins was asked to play more of the 1T position in his second season with the Cowboys.

Overcoming a broken foot from his rookie training camp to flash real potential as a 3T in 2016, expectations for Maliek Collins had to be tempered once he transitioned to the less “glamorous” 1T spot.

Defensive tackle is not a position the Cowboys have invested in heavily during recent years, so monitoring the health of Collins, while deciding where he best fits Rod Marinelli’s scheme, will be important as we approach the draft.

Like Martin, Collins should also be available for April’s return to work for the Dallas Cowboys.

Tell us what you think about “RG Zack Martin, DT Maliek Collins Undergo Successful Surgeries” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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