Jason Witten had a huge game, but it wasn't enough to pull out the win

Should The Cowboys Part Ways With Jason Witten?

Let’s be honest, the Dallas Cowboys have major cap problems going into the 2014 offseason. They are currently about $21 million dollars over the cap with numerous players set to become free agents. But what if I told you that the Cowboys could save over $21 million dollars over the next four seasons on a single player that will be 32 in May, clearly declining, and currently have a highly drafted backup in the wings to play his position? Doesn’t that sound like an easy decision? But what if that player is future Hall of Famer Jason Witten? Does that change your thought process?

I love Jason Witten. I think he is definition of the “right kind of guy” Jason Garrett is looking for. He works hard, knows his role on the team and is the longest tenured Cowboy on the team. Many fans, including myself, wish that he could end his career playing for the Cowboys and absolutely hate the thought of him finishing his career with another team.  But does Jerry Jones feel this way? I’m sure he does. But is he bold enough to release one of the team’s best players of all-time and future Hall of Famer? He has done so in the past. Mr. Jones released Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and fired Tom Landry. But the main reason as to why the Cowboys could even consider cutting Witten is that he has clearly been less efficient in the last few years of his career and is no longer a top tight end in the league. Look how he compares to other elite tight ends:

Jason Witten 2

When the Cowboys signed Jason Witten in 2011, he was coming off two incredible seasons of consistency. But since then, his production has dropped since signing his deal, making him an overpaid, veteran who really isn’t living up to his deal. Despite just a year ago when he caught 110 passes, Witten’s inability to separate and make plays down the field has actually slowed down the Cowboys offense. Witten has become a glorified check down option, rather than a true receiving threat.

The other aspect of this situation is the emergence of Dez Bryant and the 2013 draft selection of Gavin Escobar. In 2009 to 2011, Jason Witten’s production was needed more because he was the best, most reliable receiver on the team. But since the second half of 2012, Dez Bryant has become a superstar in the league and moved Witten’s importance down the totem pole. Escobar was drafted to play alongside Witten, but it looks more likely that now he will be groomed to take his place.

Jason Witten will always be a Cowboy and a favorite of mine, but we lilely have seen the best of him and he could potentially become a cap-casualty this offseason. If the Cowboys are really invested in the long term and building a championship level team, they should at least explore the possibility of cutting their future Hall of Fame tight end. Sometimes, it is import to know when to move on. I have always believed in letting a player go one year too early rather than one year too late. This just may be a perfect example of that philosophy.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten Tight End

  • SmartThinking

    This team has no reliable replacement for Witten that can put up anything even close to his numbers. That, alone, is why he’ll wear the star next season.

  • Ed

    That makes as much sence as the Patriots letting go of Welker. Dump the dead weight (Austin/Ware) and keep the go to guy.

  • Scott.

    If there’s one player that Jerry feels loyal to and keeps around while his production drops it should be Whitten. At least one more year to mentor Escobar. Cut ware and Austin let spencer and hatcher walk and draft their replacements.

  • Cry Baby

    Hmm let me see. With Witten they were 8-8. What Dallas need to do is rework Witten’s contract or try and trade him. Do the same for Ware. As for Austin try and trade him, he is hurt way too much. Let Romo sit for a year to fix his back, and start rebuilding now. I basically would clean house and basically try to position myself for the draft of 2015. The problem is Dallas is good enough to be 8-8 which is the wrong place to be drafting. You need to be very bad (2-14, 3-13, 4-12 range) or really good (12-4, 13-3, 14-2 range).

    • Scott.

      You throw around trade as if there are teams lining up for the players you’ve mention to trade. Not a single team will trade for ware or Austin because of the salary they’ll have to inherit and the age of player.

    • aprado

      Yes, because this is Madden. Letting Romo sit a year on his massive contract is pure genius.

    • aerdna smailliw

      Do you not realize that in order to trade these players their new team will have to pay them ? Who would take on the insane contracts that these players have ?

  • Juanito Juanito

    jerry jones doesnt know what to do, for real

  • jfanatic

    The cowboys need to be in Rebuilding Stage, but it shouldn’t start with Witten. Wittten certainly could help out, but they owe him. Witten is the lone star who performed every week in Garrett’s tenure. His contract isn’t just paying him for what he’s doing, but for what he’s done. DeMarcus can help out too. But it was ridiculous to grant Sean Lee’s wish for a mega contract and he hasn’t ever completed a season. The Cowboys need to trade Dez Bryant. Trade Dez Bryant ASAP!!! Pay Dan Bailey! Prepare to pay Tyron Smith mid-season. Trade D Ware if he has any market value left early. Draft. Draft. Draft. Draft. Draft. Draft. Draft. Draft. Draft.

  • jarrod

    You absolutely do not trade Witten. Escobar is nothing special and in my eyes a bust. Of course his production will go down with the emergence of Bryant and Williams.
    As for Ware…he had his first off year and we wanna ship him out??? Absolutely not, I can see maybe restructuring, but no way get rid of him.
    I agree with getting rid of Austin.

  • Joseph J Villalva

    Escobar, that was a waste of a Second round Pic.

  • stomerazor

    If they let Written go it’ll easily be one of the darkest days in DC history…the man is the model of the type of player the boys need…he’s a great presence on and off the field