Dallas Cowboys: How much will Dak Prescott miss Jason Witten?

Dak Prescott, Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott, Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

With Jason Witten now being a Las Vegas Raider, quarterback Dak Prescott will turn to Blake Jarwin as the Dallas Cowboys’ top tight end this year.

For 16 seasons, Jason Witten was a franchise cornerstone for the Dallas Cowboys at tight end. But next season, the longtime veteran will don silver and black for the Las Vegas Raiders after signing a one-year deal worth up to $4.75 million.

Many would agree it was Witten’s time to go and in doing so, it finally opened up a path for third-year tight end Blake Jarwin to take over starting duties after signing a four-year deal this offseason. Jarwin proved himself to be valuable in the passing game — flashing signs of potential in limited opportunities last season — but there are still question marks surrounding his ability to become the full-time starter.

With all of the immense talent surrounding Dak Prescott on offense, tight end is the one position that has question marks. A lot of the uncertainty stems from whether or not Blake Jarwin can fully replace the production of Jason Witten.

That stats actually compare favorably for Jarwin, who caught 31 passes for 365 yards (11.8 yds/rec) and three touchdowns. Witten caught 63 passes for 529 yards (8.4 yds/rec) and four touchdowns. For as beloved as Jason Witten is among Cowboys fans, let’s not pretend those numbers can’t be replicated.

Witten’s 63 receptions were third-most for the Cowboys, behind Amari Cooper (79) and Michael Gallup (66). And while the tight end typically serves as a safety net for the quarterback, it was actually Dallas’ trio of receivers that led the team in first down catches on third down: Cooper (16), Cobb (14) and Gallup (14).

Of those three, it was Gallup who had the highest percentage of catches that resulted in first downs, with 75.8 percent (50/66). Cobb was third with 74.5 percent (41/55). If anything, these stats should suggest that Randall Cobb’s production would be harder to replace. Of course, the Cowboys did just draft CeeDee Lamb, so I think they are feeling pretty confident in their receivers.

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Tight end is probably the biggest question mark for the Cowboys on offense, but it’s not like Dak Prescott relied heavily on Jason Witten in clutch situations. With so much talent at the skill positions, I don’t think Witten’s departure will have much of an impact on Dak Prescott’s production in the passing game. If anything, I think Jarwin’s youth and big-play ability could actually be a net gain for the Cowboys.