ASHBURN -- As expected, veteran tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will not return to the Washington Football Team for 2020.
What was not necessarily expected was that Sprinkle would stay in the NFC East. On Tuesday, the four-year veteran agreed to a one-year deal with the rival Dallas Cowboys.
So, what is the WFT losing? Is a replacement needed?
What is Dallas getting? Does Sprinkle have anything to do with Kyle Pitts?
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Here in Washington, Sprinkle never fully developed the way that Washington had hoped. Former head coach Jay Gruden and the scouting staff had hoped that the former Razorback would be a good combination tight end following in the successful footsteps of the likes of Hunter Henry.
Sprinkle instead was an above-average blocking tight end, and his role as a pass-catcher disappeared this year in Washington with a new staff in place and Logan Thomas' emergence.
Under Gruden and the previous staff? Sprinkle showed a little bit of promise in 2018 and a couple of flashes in 2019 ... but he didn't ever demonstrate that he had great hands or separation ability.
Per ProFootballFocus.com (PFF), Sprinkle played only 239 offensive snaps in 2020 with the vast majority (147) coming on run-block situations. In the regular season, Sprinkle played his most total snaps on offense in divisional games, including both wins over his new team, the Cowboys.
Washington ran the ball effectively in both of those wins, and at other times throughout the year they were able to (ahem) sprinkle in an effective run game.
So that's where he can help the Cowboys most, with Blake Jarwin coming off a tough season-ending knee injury and with the solid Dalton Schultz behind him.
And what about Dallas adding another tight end? Here in Washington, we are not necessarily privy to the plan. But we know Sprinkle ... and as is the case with most every NFL media member and fan who is following the build-up to the NFL Draft, we're getting to know Florida tight end, who might be the apple of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' eye.
NFL media scout Matt Miller compares Pitts to LeBron James, suggesting the Dallas offense would be an unstoppable NFC's best.
That, we cannot know for sure. We do know the WFT didn't care to keep Sprinkle, and we can guess that Dallas knows getting Pitts in this draft is a long-shot. So Dallas adds a body.
The Cowboys' 2020-plan third-string (and blocking) tight end, Blake Bell, left for the Chiefs. So that's where the vacancy is in Dallas now: An extra guy to help Ezekiel Elliott get untracked.
That can be Sprinkle's job in Dallas now. But if Kyle Pitts somehow becomes a Cowboy? His job, his role, won't have anything to do with Sprinkle ... except probably keeping him from having one.
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