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TE Jason Witten Signs 4-Year Extension With Cowboys

RJ Ochoa

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Jason Witten

Jason Witten, "Gold Jacket Witt" as Ezekiel Elliott nicknamed him in 2016, will indeed be getting a gold jacket someday in Canton, OH at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We're talking about a tight end who is the all-time leader in receptions (1,089), soon to be yards (he needs 17 more to pass Michael Irvin), and soon to be games played (he needs 2 more to pass Ed "Too Tall" Jones) in franchise history. Did I mention that we're talking about a tight end here?! Jason Witten, in all his glory, has officially signed a four-year extension with the Dallas Cowboys.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has signed a four-year extension through 2021, according to league... https://t.co/S0pb1zwjLP

Drafted in the 3rd Round (69th Overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Tennessee, Jason Witten has been making a name for himself while wearing a Dallas Cowboys uniform since the beginning. He's seen and been through all of the changes at both head coach and quarterback, seeing his fate end as far as the Divisional Round as many as three times (2007, 2014, and 2016).

The Cowboys enter the 2017 NFL Draft seemingly in need of an "heir apparent" to Jason Witten. Last year's 6th Round selection Rico Gathers thinks that he may be up to that task, but Jason Witten signing a contract extension indicates that he's not as near retirement as we all thought when last season ended.

Jason Witten

Jason Witten can still make plays. On October 30th, 2016 against the Philadelphia Eagles he caught the game-winner from QB Dak Prescott to keep the Cowboys momentum moving.

Of course the Cowboys will still likely address the position of tight end in the draft as behind Witten they have Gathers, James Hanna coming off of injury, and Geoff Swaim (who was recently injured and will be out until Training Camp). Whatever the case it surely is some peace of mind for Dallas that Jason Witten plans on sticking around for a little bit longer.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Witten's cap number in 2017 remains the same. No added guaranteed money in deal. Cowboys can restructure later to gain space.

The extension that Jason Witten just signed with the Cowboys seems like a move purely intentioned to allow him to finish his career with the Cowboys as opposed to one made to gain cap space. Witten's cap number for 2017 is $12.2M (courtesy of OverTheCap.com) and his new extension does nothing to change that. Of course, the Cowboys can restructure and "kick the can down the road" with money as we've seen them do this season with Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, but for now they'd be wise to sit.

Considering the what-looks-like-a-tumultuous end to the Tony Romo era in Dallas, the Cowboys are likely doing everything possible to ensure that Jason Witten's exit from America's Team is far more graceful. Maybe at some point it'll also benefit them financially, but today all it's about is keeping Jason Witten around the Dallas Cowboys longer. That's something we can all get on board with.

Tell us what you think about "TE Jason Witten Signs 4-Year Extension With Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!


I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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2 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    Why not set it up for 30 years with $300 million signing bonus… ;^)

    Hopefully this is not one of those deals like Romo got, that wrecks your cap after he’s off the team.

    Positives: Very durable producer who never relied on speed

    Negatives: Everybody reaches the year where they don’t have it anymore

    Gathers is the kind of low-cost / high-upside project that the Cowboys need all over the team this year in camp – DL, Secondary, OL, return guys who might pressure Whitehead, etc

  • John Williams

    Maybe this is a sign that the Dallas Cowboys believe that Rico Gathers has what it takes to be the heir at TE. Witten won’t be around forever, but this extension gives them time to continue to develop Rico and see what they have with him.

    Likely he’ll compete for a roster spot this year with Hanna and Swaim, and then begin competing for snaps during the season. I would bet as the season progresses that we’ll see him more and more.

    There’s too much upside with Rico if he can figure out the blocking and nuanced route running side of the game.

    Thankfully, we don’t need him to be an underneath security blanket at the moment, we have Cole Beasley and Ezekiel Elliott for that.

    Once Gathers gets into games, he can be that TE that goes up the seem or challenges the Cover Two with corner and post routes.

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Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary

Sean Martin

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Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary 1

The Dallas Cowboys best move of the offseason may very well be hiring Kris Richard as their new passing game coordinator. Despite not signing any free agents or drafting added talent for Richard to work with in the secondary, the Cowboys have plenty of reasons to feel great about their current starters - along with an intriguing class of UDFAs.

The prospects of Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Byron Jones, and Xavier Woods working with Richard to sharpen their skills with Seattle's "Legion of Boom" fabricator is as good as it gets. In a very short period of time, the cornerback position has turned into one of the hardest spots for fringe players to make the Dallas Cowboys roster.

Don't tell this to San Diego State's Kameron Kelly. Neither Richard or Kelly may be household names around the NFL, but San Francisco 49ers Cornerback Richard Sherman certainly is. Sherman also happens to be the player the Cowboys are looking for Kelly -- an undrafted free agent that didn't receive a single college offer from "power five" schools -- to emulate.

Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary

Dallas Cowboys Passing Game Cooridinator Kris Richard with Richard Sherman

Given all that Sherman meant to Richard's defenses since being drafted by his Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, these feel like impossible expectations for Kelly to live up to.

The 6015 (6' 1 5/8") defender didn't even play the same position as Sherman until his final collegiate season, slowly making the transition from WR to DB at SDSU by starting as a Sophomore and Junior at safety.

Now just another player in a blue jersey with white numbers at The Star, Kelly is looking to earn the star on a team that may look to remain young, deep, and most importantly versatile in the secondary by keeping one or more UDFAs.

That is, if any of these long shot players deserve a spot on the final 53-man roster. Kelly already has an edge on this field, blessed with the length and daunting frame that allows Richard and the Cowboys to dream of featuring their own Richard Sherman.

"I think he’s trying to turn me into his next Richard Sherman or something". - Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Kameron Kelly

Kris Richard is going to coach everybody he comes across hard. He knows no other way. Kam Kelly is already embracing this, seeing the Cowboys vision for him and not backing down from the challenge.

Turn on the tape for this "diamond in the rough" prospect, and you'll see a player that carries this same competitive toughness onto the field.

Mike Mayock on Twitter

Will a DB compete / tackle ? Top of screen- flat footed read on bubble- trusts eyes and goes ! Just checking boxes- I see you, kameron Kelly of SDSU.... https://t.co/fJM4s16Eq1

Kelly joins Charvarius Ward, Donovan Olumba, and Tyree Robinson as the Cowboys class of UDFAs at both cornerback and safety. An athletic DB out of Oregon, Robinson has made a strong initial impression with several plays on the ball in drills so far.

However, it was Kam Kelly that set up an interception for Jameill Showers in yesterday's practice by getting in the face of rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup.

Projecting anything that resembles a starting lineup for the Cowboys defense in the last week of May is silly. So too is realistically expecting Kelly, Ward, Olumba, or Robinson to ever crack this lineup.

Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary 2

Dallas Cowboys CB Kameron Kelly

The Cowboys could find themselves without enough practice snaps to go around for starting caliber players like Awuzie, Lewis, Jones, Anthony Brown, and even Marquez White. This does not bode well for Kam Kelly, who is only going to continue generating buzz from fans and the Dallas media.

For now, Kelly is getting his chance though. The Cowboys are ever-so-slowly getting back into form for 2018 - doing so with many familiar faces no longer on the roster. This team is going to look different on both sides of the ball come September, and Cowboys Nation can only hope it's for the better given the impressive amount of depth all over the field.

Kam Kelly won't back down from the depth the Cowboys have at CB, expecting to impress his new coach Kris Richard in the mold of three-time All-Pro Richard Sherman.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Rico Gathers’ Absence in 2018 Wasn’t About Health

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Rico Gathers, Rams

A sixth-round pick out of Baylor University, Rico Gathers was supposed to be one hell of a football story. A basketball superstar, Gathers hadn't played college football at all, but the traits he had were enough for the Dallas Cowboys to take a chance on him during the final day of the 2016 NFL Draft to find a potential heir to Jason Witten.

After spending his entire rookie season developing in the practice squad, it felt like Gathers would have his chance in 2017. However, after suffering a concussion in the preseason, he never saw the field during the regular season. Despite initially making the 53-man roster, he was quickly placed on injured reserve.

Cowboys Nation hoped to see him back after the mandatory eight weeks in IR, but the much-anticipated comeback never took place.

The narrative was that the concussion was more serious than previously thought and that there was also a jaw injury involved. And through it all, there were some whispers about Gathers' absence being more coaching related than health related.

Last Wednesday, the former Baylor basketball star talked to the media about his situation and brought some very interesting responses to the table.

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys TE Rico Gathers said he was cleared from his concussion after Week 7 last year to return to practice. "But I could just tell by the drift of the season and the drift of the coaching staff that I probably wasn't going to play this last year anyway.

If his comments are true, it really confirms that the fact that Gathers didn't get any playing time at all last season wasn't only concussion-related. If he was truly ready to go since week 8, then him not being on the field shows how the Cowboys coaching staff isn't sold on the player like the fans are.

Sure, it'd be one hell of a story. And of course, he seemed to make a statement during the preseason. However, it's not like Dallas had very special backup tight ends behind Jason Witten. As much as it hates to admit it, maybe Gathers simply isn't as good as some thought he was.

This was not the only interesting comment from Rico as he also said that the jaw injury never happened, claiming that was something media-related. This obviously brings up an even more interesting question: Was the team lying about Gathers' health to keep him on IR and avoid having to get him on the practice squad and risking him being pouched by another team?

We might never get to know the absolute truth in this case, but it's still worth noting.

Right now, Gathers' fight is all about making it to the regular season.

Brandon George on Twitter

Rico Gathers: "The biggest thing for me this year is just making it to the regular season. I have to make sure I'm healthy and make sure I'm able to be on somebody's 53-man roster.

"Somebody's 53-man roster" is the quote that sticks out from this comment. If Gathers makes it to a roster for the 2018 season, it just might not be with the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps it's for the best. The team has a chance to give Dalton Schultz an important role from day 1 and continue with Geoff Swaim's and Blake Jarwin's development going forward.

Rico Gathers may still be in the picture, for sure, but don't be surprised if he's shown the door before expected. I think every fan out there agrees that having a kid who hadn't played football since he was 13-years old turn into a quality starter in the league would've been remarkable.

But it's time to realize that that doesn't look to be the case.

Right now, Gathers is fighting for a spot on the roster. He's going to have to put up a big fight if he's to prove he's worthy of wearing the Star. Luckily for the Dallas Cowboys, with a deep TE room, they won't be desperately relying on his success to find the new starting tight end of the franchise.

Tell me what you think about "Rico Gathers’ Absence in 2018 Wasn’t About Health" 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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Cowboys RB Bo Scarbrough Tabbed to “Exceed Expectations” in Rookie Season

Sean Martin

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Cowboys RB Bo Scarbrough Tabbed to "Exceed Expectations" in Rookie Season

Given their rich history at the position, and current resources allocated to the running game, the addition of any running backs to the Dallas Cowboys roster is always noteworthy. Making two-time national champion Running Back Bo Scarbrough their last pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cowboys did as well as they could at 236th overall.

Naturally, a prospect that played at Alabama has garnered plenty of attention as a potential compliment to Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas. This would of course be exceptional value for the Cowboys to get out of their ninth player drafted.

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein gets much further into the draft than just the recognizable players such as Scarbrough. This is why it's noteworthy to see the rookie back land on his list of "seven late-round picks likely to exceed expectations in 2018".

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In his brief overview of the loaded backfield that Scarbrough finds himself in, Zierlein writes that:

"Ezekiel Elliott is clearly capable of handling the lion's share of duties on all three downs, but Scarbrough is a downhill runner who has the size and demeanor to help the Cowboys continue to impose their will on the ground when Elliott is resting. I can envision Scarbrough thriving in a complementary role similar to the one the Titans' Derrick Henry has played behind DeMarco Murray for much of his career. Landing Scarbrough in the seventh round could turn out to be a tremendous steal this season."

The name clearly missing from this quote is Rod Smith. Likely posing the biggest threat to Scarbrough's roster spot, Smith embodies what the Cowboys are looking for in a back that can do it all - spelling Elliott as a capable runner and receiver while also contributing on special teams.

Proving himself on just 55 carries for 232 yards this season, Smith's roster spot feels safe entering 2018. As seventh round picks should have to do in making a contending team's roster, Scarbrough will have to excel in ways he never did at Alabama in order to earn a spot behind Smith.

Should Cowboys Offer Rod Smith a Contract Extension?

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It's also interesting to see Zierlein mention former Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray in the scheme of two physical running backs coexisting.

If their better understanding of what Rod Smith can do on offense wasn't enough of an indicator, the Cowboys also traded for two backfield additions this offseason in Tavon Austin and Fullback Jamize Olawale.

There is little doubt that the Cowboys will hold true in their commitment to backfield depth again this season. The versatility and overall readiness of this unit is a direct extension of the best positional group in the league, being the Cowboys offensive line.

The idea of handing the ball to Bo Scarbrough late in games against a defense already shredded by Elliott is a great one for Cowboys Nation. It is one that many national writers will continue to mention in their discussions of how the Cowboys can return to form after a surprising 9-7 setback last year.

Unless Scarbrough is able to elevate his game on special teams or as a pass catcher, he faces an uphill battle to live up to nearly any expectations on the table for him right now. Nonetheless, the Cowboys have an exciting player to utilize this summer through the preseason in hopes of maximizing Scarbrough's upside.

In his more in-depth scouting report of Scarbrough, Zierlein sees the player similarly, giving him an overall grade of 5.50. This translates to Scarbrough having a "chance to become an NFL starter," a position happily occupied by Ezekiel Elliott for hopefully years to come in Dallas.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys RB Bo Scarbrough Tabbed to “Exceed Expectations” in Rookie Season" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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