Jason Witten vs. Blake Jarwin: From role model to competitor?

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 24: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys during a NFL preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 24: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys during a NFL preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Future Hall of Famer Jason Witten and his apprentice Blake Jarwin both need new contracts. Should the Dallas Cowboys sign one, none, or both?

It’s a big cap crunch and the Dallas Cowboys are looking for any possible way to save money. Veteran tight end Jason Witten requires a new contract and has made it known that he still wants to play in the NFL.

Tight end Blake Jarwin gave glimpses of the production he can have. Tough decisions are going to have to be made in the coming weeks. Should Dallas sign one, none or both of these tight ends this offseason?

The Best Bang for Your Buck

When Witten came out of retirement, he took a team-friendly contract. The one-year $4.25 million contract had him ranked 23rd in the league in average salary. He was getting paid $705K less than Detroit Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Jarwin’s, on the other hand, is worth $564K but the contract was also signed when he was an undrafted free agent. Jarwin will want a good pay raise while Witten can fetch around the same amount as last season, or maybe a little more.

Witten had 529 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns, good enough to rank 14th in the league in for both categories. Jarwin had 365 yards and three touchdowns.

There were only four games where Witten played under 70 percent of the offensive snaps. Jarwin, on the other hand, only eclipsed the 50 percent mark in one game. The usage has been blatantly clear.

Part of the reason was that Dallas was using Witten as a blocker a lot, something Jarwin needs some work on. Witten would usually only get the ball as the second or third option.

Another problem was that Witten didn’t look like he had the hands that he once did. He made some drops that looked like easy catches, and that may have caused his usage in the passing game to drop a bit.

Regardless, he played his leadership role and helped lead the offense to be amongst the best in the league. When Jarwin was called upon, he made his mark. Although he had a worse catching percentage by 0.3, his average yards per reception was better by six yards flat than Witten’s.

Without a doubt, Jarwin’s efficiency has had some influence from Witten mentoring him, but it’s also because Jarwin is a lot quicker. He did play wide receiver in his sophomore year at Oklahoma State after all.

We don’t know what we can get from Jarwin if he is put at the starting spot. What we do know, is that Witten will continue to be a great blocker, and should make safe catches for first downs.

Because more is guaranteed with Witten, his contract will be worth more than Jarwin’s. While Witten can sit at the $5-$5.5 million mark in average salary, Jarwin will likely sit around $3 million or even $2.5 million on a short-term deal.

I would love for both tight ends to stick with Dallas next season, but that’s if they can both fit. In the case that only one can be retained, I would rather have the 25-year-old Jarwin. It hurts to say, but with Witten at 37-years-old, any game can likely be his last.

Jarwin is the long-term solution to the position, while Witten will hopefully stick around along the sidelines. I do want Witten back with the team, but it’s a matter of can Dallas keep him, and will it leave anyone else out?

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Either way, if the Dallas Cowboys do end up keeping Jason Witten, it wouldn’t be for long. Blake Jarwin should be re-signed and let’s hope Witten is too. If you had the choice, what would you do? Let us know in the comment section below.