After a less than stellar year working for the Monday Night Football crew, former Dallas Cowboys’ tight end Jason Witten is returning to the football field.
Jason Witten is coming out of his brief retirement and is set to sign a one year contract with the Cowboys, the team where he has played for his entire career. The Cowboys broke the news on their website, and Witten issued the following statement:
“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong. This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I’m looking forward to getting back in the dirt.”
In his last season with Dallas, Witten recorded 63 catches for 560 yards and five touchdowns, serving as a valuable security blanket for quarterback Dak Prescott. Dallas got next to nothing out of their tight ends in 2018, with the immortal trio of Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim and Rico Gathers combining for 56 catches, 594 yards, and four scores.
Even at age 36, Witten represents a massive upgrade over that trio in terms of potential production. The Cowboys were expected to go shopping for a tight end in the offseason as well, so bringing back Witten means they won’t have to try and throw megabucks at Jared Cook to put another weapon at Prescott’s disposal. They could, however, target the position in the NFL Draft, as the class is deep at tight end.
The return of Witten should help the Cowboys improve on third downs. Dallas was already remarkably efficient on third down, ranking 10th in the league with a 41.4 percent conversion rate and having Witten back working the middle of the field will give new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore more options.
This news is a bit of a shock, but it is worth noting that there were rumors last season that Witten was weighing a return to the field. The Monday Night Football booth clearly wasn’t a great fit for Witten, who struggled to form chemistry with Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland.
Witten now gets to get back to what he does best, catching passes and creating holes in the run games as a blocker. The Cowboys made the playoffs and won a round without Witten last season, and now their chances of advancing further have improved significantly.