Cowboys In Free Agency: Is Colts TE Eric Ebron a Potential Target?

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys have an issue or two at tight end. Would adding a pass-catching free agent solve an issue or two?

Pro Football Focus has Eric Ebron of the Indianapolis Colts tabbed as a potential target for Dallas once NFL free agency opens on March 18. Ebron has pedigree; he was a first round pick and he's been a Pro Bowler (in 2018, when he caught a notable 13 TD passes after having been traded by Detroit, where his work was underwhelming.

That red-zone ability is attractive. But before Dallas takes on somebody's else's issue (Ebron wasn't even Indy's most productive tight end, that honor going to Jack Doyle), new coach Mike McCarthy and staff need to figure out their own.

There is an ESPN report out that that essentially claims that tight end Jason Witten can return to the roster in 2020 should he desire. That's not at all what we've been told; Cowboys officials are remarkably quiet about the idea ... a silence that we think speaks volumes.

We also know that people here inside The Star over the course of last season pushed for reserve tight end Blake Jarwin to get more snaps than he was getting, maybe even more snaps that Witten was getting.

A "progress-stopper'' that precluded Jarwin from demonstrating that as a pass-catcher, he can do anything Ebron can do? Yes, that's the idea.

Ebron got that change of scenery two years ago from Detroit (which dumped him) to Indianapolis, and he flashed, temporarily, in a big way. But last year he was good for just 31 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns; those numbers are not better than Jarwin's. Indeed, they are remarkable similar, as Jarwin went for 31 catches, 365 yards and three TDs - and he did it all while playing well behind Witten.

The Cowboys need to solve the Witten question. They also need to develop third-stringer Dalton Schultz, drafted with the idea that he was a gifted blocker but in fact has been as mediocre in that department as Witten and Jarwin. But maybe most of all, they need to reflect on the 2019 snap counts for their top tight ends - Witten at 75 percent, Jarwin at 35 percent - and realize maybe they did it all upside-down.

Another Jarwin-like player doesn't change that formula. Playing Jarwin does that without buying a $7 mil tight end via free agency.