Timing is everything. And that goes doubly when talking about NFL trades. And despite how much we talk and speculate about them, trades are incredibility difficult to get done. Still, that doesn’t stop us from imagining them.
For instance, Erik Lambert of NFLMocks.com wrote an article Wednesday morning about possible draft day trades. One of the players he thought could be possible trade bait is the Cowboys greatest tight end in franchise history. Here’s what Erik had to say:
“There hasn’t been a more consistently productive tight end in pro football over the past eight to ten years than Jason Witten for the Dallas Cowboys. He remains a top target for Tony Romo, but extenuating circumstances have begun to make his presence in Dallas less and less attractive. First, he is pushing north of 30 years old and has taken a lot of hit. Second, the Cowboys seem to have a high quality youngster in the system now with Gavin Escobar. Lastly, is simple economics. Witten is very expensive and the Cowboys are hurting for salary cap space. By dealing him elsewhere they not only get relief, but also something back in return. Obviously there’s no guarantee Escobar can reach a similar level, but Dallas has been good about keeping the offense loaded with weapons.”
First off, I’m not sure you’d call Witten “very expensive”. Here is his scheduled contract amounts as provided by Rotoworld: 2014: $5 million, 2015: $5.1 million, 2016: $6.5 million, 2017: $7.4 million, 2018: Free Agent. A comparable tight end, like the San Diego Chargers Antonio Gates, will make nearly the same amount as Witten per year. Gates scheduled contract amounts: 2014: $5 million, 2015: $5.9 million, 2016: Free Agent.
And maybe I’m overly sentimental, but I believe Witten has earned the right to retire in Dallas. And that is the where I’d like to see him end his career. (Initiating painful flashback – Seeing Emmitt Smith in an Arizona Cardinals uniform hurt my soul. ) Trading Witten now is “cashing in” while his value is still high, but I think our offense would suffer way to much. Honestly, Escobar is nowhere close to being a good NFL tight end. Neither is James Hanna. Both are extremely young and have a lot to learn. And they should do so under the leadership and tutelage of Witten.
If you’d like to read the rest of Erik’s article about possible draft day trades, click here.