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As the Witten chapter ends, the Jarwin era begins

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

As the Witten chapter ends, the Jarwin era begins

The Dallas Cowboys signed Blake Jarwin to a three-year extension Monday that can be as much as $24.2 million with over $9 million guaranteed. The entire contract is over four seasons.

The Cowboys could’ve only issued a tender off to Jarwin, who was a restricted free agent. They would’ve held the rights to him in 2020 but he would’ve become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Jarwin signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent after the 2017 NFL draft. He was waived on September 2, 2017, but was signed to the practice squad the next day. In October of 2017, Jarwin was promoted to the active roster in order to avoid losing him to the Philadelphia Eagles and forcing the team to keep four tight ends. He appeared in one game in 2017 and recorded no statistics.

Jarwin was given a larger role in the offense the next season following Jason Witten’s retirement. He caught 27 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns. He caught all his touchdowns in a breakout week 17 game against the New York Giants.

He upped his reception total to 31 and his yards to 365, despite Witten’s return. And though no official decision had been made at the time Jarwin inked his deal, the writing was on the wall the team had made their decision on who they wanted to head the tight end group.

The 17-year veteran and future Hall of Famer Jason Witten officially closed his historic chapter with Dallas Tuesday when he signed a one-year deal worth $4.25 million with the Oakland Raiders, per Todd Archer of ESPN.

With Witten’s exit, the keys are now in Jarwin’s hands as the promising tight end appears to be the unanimous lead tight end.

Fortunately, his deal comes under the new direction of head coach Mike McCarthy whose offenses have frequently favored more athletic, pass-catching tight ends.

In 2018, tight end Jimmy Graham was targeted 89 times and hauled in 55 receptions for 636 yards and two touchdowns.

If Jarwin’s stats are extrapolated to 89 targets, then he would have 67 catches for 790 yards and six touchdowns. Witten finished last year with 63 catches for 529 yards and four touchdowns.

Jarwins’s athleticism and soft hands were best on display in week 17 of the 2018 season where he went for 119 yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions – proving he could be a reliable threat in a downfield offense. Yet, over their two playoff games that season, he finished with just five receptions on five targets for 32 yards.

And then proceeded to take a back seat to an aging Witten after his return.

Jarwin, nor Graham, would be the first example of the athletic tight end in a McCarthy offense. Jermichael Finley was a fixture of the Packers offense for five years, during which he recorded 217 receptions for 2,711 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Finley was surrounded by receivers like Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, who were primarily the focus in their offense.

Following Finley’s retirement were players like Richard Rodgers and Jared Cook. In 2015, Rodgers finished second on the team with 510 yards and eight touchdowns.

With the loss of Randall Cobb, the Cowboys can stand to benefit from McCarthy’s proven history of how to utilize athletic tight ends in the passing game. It should be an exciting time as for the first time in nearly two decades the Cowboys are no longer behind the league at the tight end position.

Staff Writer covering the Dallas Cowboys | Madden Legend | SFA Alum | Fascinated by Success

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