Today we take a look at where the 2020 Dallas Cowboys stand at tight end as we enter offseason workouts. It's Life After Witten ... and maybe Blake Jarwin makes it OK ...
PLAYERS AT POSITION ENTERING FREE AGENCY (BASED ON DALLASCOWBOYS.COM): Jason Witten (starter), Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz, Cole Hikutini (reserve/future)
2020 COWBOYS FREE AGENTS: Witten, Jarwin (restricted).
COWBOYS LOST: Witten.
COWBOYS RETAINED: Jarwin.
COWBOYS GAINED: Blake Bell (signed with the Cowboys on April 7), Sean McKeon (undrafted free agent)
COWBOYS DRAFTED: None.
WHERE WE STAND: Losing Witten finally closes the door on his era as the Cowboys’ primary tight end (he retired after the 2017 season, called games for Monday Night Football in 2018 and returned to start in 2019).
That means its Jarwin’s show now, and he’ll have to prove to everyone that he can be consistently productive now, instead of the spurts of solid play he’s shown the past couple of seasons.
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"Witten-esque'' might be too much to ask for - even though Jarwin has already established a higher level of explosiveness than the fotmer Hall-of-Famer.
Ultimately, in this offense? The Cowboys just need consistent production.
They'll get it from Bell if they ask him to be mostly a blocker, as he was in K.C. Schultz needs to start competing for playing time.
WHERE WE GO FROM HERE: With Jarwin the undisputed No. 1 on the depth chart, I'd like to see competition time between Bell and Schultz. Yes, the Cowboys tend to carry three tight ends into the season, and there is no reason to think the installation of Mike McCarthy as head coach might alter that philosophy.
But let’s assume the Cowboys take three into the regular season. The previous administration would have loved for Schultz, given his knowledge of the Cowboys system and his natural blocking skills, to mature into a No. 2. That never happened. Now comes a new coaching staff and the signing of Bell ...
The pecking order seems clear.
Bell comes with a cool nickname — the ‘Belldozer’ — and has a Super Bowl ring from his time in Kansas City. Bell has 38 receptions in five seasons. That, plus his blocking ability, gives him the upper hand in topping Schultz come the regular season. Now all Dallas needs is for Jarwin to mimic Witten not in terms of style but in terms of general production ... and the transformation will be a success.