The Dallas Cowboys broke arguably the most eye-opening news of the 2019 NFL offseason to this point. On Thursday afternoon, amid the drama of the NFL Scouting Combine and chatter surrounding the draft, it was revealed that legendary tight end Jason Witten would return to the gridiron.
As the team revealed, Witten will end his retirement and come back for season No. 16 of his NFL career, re-joining the Cowboys in the process. The 36-year-old issued a statement on his return, citing that the “fire” to return to the game is “just burning too strong.”
“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong,” Witten said in a statement. “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.”
Witten will enter season No. 16 of his career, playing all 15 previous years with the Cowboys and making 11 Pro Bowls in the process. He put together one of the most impressive resumes of a tight end in history while proving to be a dominant and reliable option for his quarterbacks.
Jason Witten’s Impressive Cowboys Career and Stats
Coming out of the University of Tennessee, Witten was a third-round pick by the Cowboys in the 2003 NFL Draft. Over the span of his career to this point, Witten has played in 239 games, catching 1,152 passes for 12,448 yards and 68 touchdowns. In a six-year stretch from 2007 to 2012, he topped 942 yards in each season while catching 94 or more passes in four of those years.
Currently, Witten ranks No. 21 in NFL history for most receiving yards in a career, per Pro Football Reference. With his return to the league, he has a real chance to jump inside the top-20 and possibly even the top-15 if he decides to play for more than one season. Currently, Henry Ellard holds the No. 15 spot with 13,777 yards, so Witten has some ground to make up.
Jason Witten’s Contract With Cowboys
The Cowboys certainly gave their longtime tight end a solid financial reason to return to the tea as well. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Witten’s new deal with the Cowboys is worth $3.5 million for this season.
Witten will step in to help an offense that is losing Cole Beasley and struggled mightily early in the year through the air. The Cowboys’ trade to acquire Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders helped their offense, and now pairing him with Witten will help the outlook of both players and Dak Prescott.