The Cowboys Will be Dismal Without Witten and Dez
After 15 seasons in the NFL, future Hall of Famer Jason Witten did the most logical thing imaginable by announcing his retirement on Thursday to replace Jon Gruden in the MNF booth next season. Not only will Witten double his NFL salary, but most importantly, he won't get hit any more and continue the trend of former Cowboys' players to enter the broadcast booth following retirement. This move, combined with Dez being gone now, leaves Dallas in a bad situation.
I get it, Witten was old and his better days were behind him, so why on earth did the Cowboys still need his services, all be it for one more season? Witten was the the ace in the hole for the Cowboys for so many years, the player they depended on in numerous pressure filled situations, and that isn't easy to replace. Not only was he a superior blocking tight end, but the chemistry that he had with Romo and even Prescott was simply magnificent; he was old reliable.
Following Witten's retirement, the Cowboys were left with a trio of tight ends who have amassed a whopping nine combined career catches. They drafted Stanford TE Dalton Schultz in the fourth round, knocks on him are his blocking abilities and the fact that he didn't exactly light up the stat sheets while in college. Another issue that the Cowboys will deal with next season is the lack of a true number one wide receiver.
When the Cowboys released Dez Bryant, I was certainly in favor of the move. Once they did so, it seemed like the obvious choice was to draft a top receiver in the first round to replace Bryant, but of course the best GM in all of football passed up on the pick of the litter from Calvin Ridley to D.J. Moore. Instead they went after Colorado State WR Michael Gallup in the third round who certainly had big numbers in college, but at this point it looks like the Cowboys will go with the old receiver by committee approach.
Dallas will clearly rely heavily on the ground game with Zeke Elliot back, but if Dak Prescott, who struggled last season with Bryant and Witten is constantly looking for reliable receivers, it will indeed be a long season for the Cowboys. With their challenging schedule and these recent changes, I don't see them winning more than 6 or 7 games. It's funny, a couple of seasons ago it seemed as though this young team with the best O-line in the NFL would be a Super Bowl contender for years to come, how things change so rapidly in the league.