Longtime Cowboys tight end Jason Witten agrees to terms with Raiders, per report

Jason Witten has made a decision on his NFL future. The future Hall of Fame tight end didn’t consider hanging up his cleats for the second time in three years following another disappointing finish by the Dallas Cowboys, instead opting to mull his decisions as new head coach Mike McCarthy began his regime. What was to be a “quick decision” became anything but, and Witten made it clear he was prepared to play elsewhere. He’s now made good on that promise by reportedly agreeing to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders on a one-year deal worth $4.25 million, per Todd Archer of ESPN. 

Witten also considered reuniting with former head coach Jason Garrett as a member of the New York Giants, but the organizational interest wasn’t mutual. The decision to suit up for another team for the first time in his illustrious career marks a departure in tone from 2018, when a frustrated Witten opted to take his talents to the broadcast booth as an analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” in what ultimately became a decision he said “sucked” — due to the mountain of criticism he received in his inaugural season as a color commentator.

The Cowboys entered the 2018 NFL Draft believing they’d have Witten on the field after he doubled down on his commitment to return that season, but were then forced into scramble mode when he changed his mind in late April. 

Having climbed down out of the ESPN broadcast booth only one season after retiring, Witten never looked hungrier as he got back to the business of playing football. He made it clear that despite the team’s initial plan to reduce his snap count for 2019, he was hellbent on “making it tough” on Garrett and newly-promoted offensive coordinator Kellen Moore when it came to seeing that plan realized — not conceding a thing to those who are instantly pushed down the depth chart with him back in the mix.

He got his way, securing the most reps at the position by a wide margin, so much so it led to questions surrounding the team’s lack of willingness to give backup Blake Jarwin more playing time. Jarwin proved time and again he was the more dominant playmaker with the ball in his hands, but the sturdy Witten continued to get the nod en route to a solid but less-than-prolific season.

His 529 receiving yards were second-lowest of his career, behind only his rookie 2003 season. 

In the end, sources tell CBS Sports the Cowboys refused to offer Witten the starting role in 2020 and eventually cemented that plan by securing Jarwin on a three-year deal, leaving Witten with much of nothing to hold onto as a player in Dallas. He’ll find it difficult to beat out the likes of Darren Waller in Las Vegas, and is more likely a rotational option — barring injury. 

Witten leaves the Cowboys as the franchise’s all-time leader in receiving yards (12,977) and although he was unable to tie Dez Bryant’s all-time receiving touchdown mark, Witten’s count of 72 is still good enough for second and won’t be matched for a very long time.

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