With news that the Dallas Cowboys will likely tender Blake Jarwin, does that secure his position as the team’s top tight end for 2020 and beyond?
Changes to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff have sparked several questions about the future of numerous positions along the team’s current roster. That includes the position of tight end.
Jason Witten has been a stalwart at the position for 16 years. An 11-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, and former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award winner, Witten’s place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is all but assured. He’ll also turn 38-years old before the start of next season.
Witten has publicly stated he’d like to return to play his 17th season. And he would prefer to do so with the Cowboys, although he understands he may have to settle for playing elsewhere.
So why hasn’t America’s Team already locked up their longtime tight end for 2020? It likely has to do with Witten’s role. In fact, owner and general manager Jerry Jones himself has implied that is the case.
Witten returned to the Cowboys last season after spending a year in retirement, manning the booth of ESPN’s Monday Night Football as a color analyst. He played more than 75 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2019 and recorded 63 receptions for 529 yards and four touchdowns.
But Witten’s presence figured to stunt the growth of tight end Blake Jarwin in his third season. Despite starting in more games (7) and recording more receptions (31) and receiving yards (365) last year than the previous season when Witten was retired, Jarwin did play less than 39 percent of the team total offensive snaps last year.
Now, ESPN’s Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys are likely to use a second-round tender in an attempt to retain Jarwin, who is set to be a restricted free agent later this month. According to Archer, the price of doing so is around $3.3 million per his unnamed sources. And there’s also talk of a potential long term deal being in the works.
If this news is true, this certainly shows a commitment by the Cowboys to Jarwin as the future of the tight end position in Dallas. However, here’s how David Helman of DallasCowboys.com responded to a recent mailbag question about Jarwin’s playing time in 2020.
"“Ask me again when we know what Jason Witten is doing. If Witten returns to the Cowboys, then I wouldn’t count on it. But if Witten moves on, then Jarwin immediately becomes your TE1 and is line for much more playing time in 2020.”"
With free agency kicking off later this month and the NFL draft set for April, the future of the tight end position is still in limbo. But the odds on favorite appears to be Blake Jarwin. But with a new head coach and coaching staff installed, it’s anyone’s guess what the Dallas Cowboys are thinking much less how this roster will look when the regular season begins.