Blake Jarwin is finally getting the opportunity that he and others have been waiting for; 2020 will be his first year as the starting tight end for the Dallas Cowboys. Without Jason Witten or even Geoff Swaim standing in his way now, Jarwin’s production should increase enough that making the Pro Bowl this season is a very reasonable goal.
There’s no questioning Jarwin’s role going into 2020. The Cowboys made that clear in two ways, first by giving Blake a new 3-year contract that averages $5.5 million in annual salary. This put him in the Top 20 among tight ends throughout the NFL.
If that wasn’t enough evidence, Dallas did next to nothing this offseason to add additional talent at the TE position. Their one noteworthy move was signing veteran Blake Bell to a 1-year deal at just $1.7 million; clearly backup money and nothing close to indicating that Bell’s here to compete with Jarwin.
No, Blake Bell is an experienced blocking TE that, at the most, will take snaps away from 3rd-year prospect Dalton Schultz. It’s clearly Blake Jarwin’s time to shine with the Cowboys and finally without anyone else around to steal his spotlight.
Still, is it really reasonable to think Jarwin could take this opportunity and run with it all the way to his first Pro Bowl? Isn’t that a bit much?
If you look at last year’s receiving stats for NFL tight ends and project Jarwin’s production in the Cowboys’ offense, the thought of him making it to the Pro Bowl becoming very realistic.
Last year, the 49ers’ George Kittle and the Eagles’ Zach Ertz made the Pro Bowl roster for the NFC. The alternates were Jared Cook (Saints) and Austin Hooper (Falcons). Here’s a quick look at their 2019 stats:
- Kittle – 85 rec, 1,053 yds, 5 TDs
- Ertz – 88 rec, 916 yds, 6 TDs
- Cook – 43 rec, 705 yds, 9 TDs
- Hooper – 75 rec, 787 yds, 6 TDs
For the Cowboys last year, Jason Witten had 63 catches for 529 yards and four touchdowns. Jarwin added 31 reception, 365 yards, and three scores. If you combine their stats, you get 94 catches, 894 yards, and seven touchdowns.
Obviously, it’s not as simple as combining stats. Jarwin isn’t going to just get handed all of Witten targets; some of those are going to Bell and Schultz, and then there’s also rookie WR Ceedee Lamb to think about.
But even with those mitigating factors, Jarwin’s share of targets and receptions should go up significantly. And once he has the ball in his hands, he can generate a lot more yards running than Witten could in these latter years of his career. Blake averaged an addition 3.4 yards on each reception than Jason did in 2019.
And really, the Lamb factor could go both ways. While we certainly expect Dallas to give him involved on offense, that will mostly come out of the stats that Randall Cobb put up in 2019. There will still be plenty left for the TE position, and Ceedee’s presence could actually make life even easier for Jarwin in terms of matchups and defensive focus.
If anything keeps Blake out of the Pro Bowl this year it will be these other big-name tight ends in the NFC. Ertz and Kittle haven’t gone anywhere and now Rob Gronkowski has followed Tom Brady to Tampa Bay. They may not make room for Jarwin or anyone else to break through in 2020 unless the statistics are overwhelmingly superior.
Still, Jarwin has the power of The Star and Cowboys Nation going for him. It’s worked well for many Dallas players through the years; a tremendous edge in the fan voting and national exposure.
Clearly, Blake Jarwin has a strong opportunity to make the Pro Bowl in 2020. He’s in the right offense for production and on the right team to make headlines. If he does, that new contract is going to quickly become one of the biggest bargains the Cowboys have.