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Dallas Cowboys should look to Blake Jarwin to fill Witten's shoes

The Dallas Cowboys don’t yet know if Jason Witten will be back in 2020 but they do know that backup Blake Jarwin can be a receiving threat at tight end.
Credit: AP Photo/Adam Hunger
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin (89) avoids a tackle by New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) on his way to a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J.

DALLAS — The Super Bowl is finally upon us with the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers preparing for the final game of the year. One thing is evident with both teams: they have an elite pass-catching tight end. 

Travis Kelce and George Kittle are two of the best in the game right now, if not the best. They are big targets in the passing game and allow others on the outside to draw one-on-one coverage because of their abilities down the field.

This shows how far behind the Dallas Cowboys are at the position. 

For years, Jason Witten was the best all-around tight end in the game. His blocking ability and finding the soft spots in zones with his Y-option, made him one of the most reliable in the game. He may have a little juice left, but Witten is a shell of his former self. That’s not a slight at him as it’s not exactly surprising considering he just finished his 16th season.

The knock on former head coach Jason Garrett and team owner Jerry Jones is that they have been too loyal to past performances. The “if he did it once, he can do it again” mentality permeates this franchise. Loyalty is a good trait to have, but eventually time catches up to all of us, just as it came for Garrett earlier this offseason.

In all things, you have to appreciate the past but be willing to let go of it when the time is right. Witten’s best ball is behind him and he is only hindering the offense if he wants to stay at more than a limited, backup role.

The Cowboys have a young promising tight end in Blake Jarwin, who has the ability to attack defenses when given the opportunity. His career average yards per catch is 11.6, with six touchdowns. He received an opportunity in 2018 when Witten abruptly retired, but shared duties with Geoff Swaim.

His first year of any significant playing time, was only his second year in the league. Jarwin was still learning the ropes who came in as an undrafted free agent and former wide receiver. Jarwin started off slowly as one might expect, but by the end of the season, he had become Dallas’ top tight end threat, culminating in a three-touchdown performance in Week 16 against the New York Giants.

Once Witten returned, however, Jarwin’s snaps evaporated. The Cowboys need to look at Jarwin once again with a new staff in place.

Jarwin, along with 2018 fourth-round selection Dalton Schultz, and a potential draft selection or free agent signing, should top the group that the Cowboys go with in 2020. The Dallas Cowboys need to get young and athletic at the position to get to another level -- and that means leaving Witten behind. 

There is no question that Witten is a first ballot Hall of Fame tight end, but now it should be Jarwin’s time to shine.

Do you think it’s time for the Cowboys to turn over the keys to the tight end position to Blake Jarwin? Share your thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.

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