Cowboys Eyeing Jason Witten as Jason Garrett Replacement?

Jason Witten

Getty Jason Witten

The Dallas Cowboys coaxed Jason Witten out of retirement to play tight end for the 2019 campaign. In 2020, he could have a new title — a huge title.

Speculation is running rampant linking Witten to the Cowboys’ potential head-coaching vacancy, with multiple members of the local media pegging the 37-year-old as a successor to Jason Garrett, who’s likely to depart next offseason, barring a deep playoff run.

The Dallas Morning News’ Tim Cowlishaw was the first to connect the dots, touting Witten as a more viable candidate than current Oklahoma coach and perceived favorite Lincoln Riley, who’s reportedly drawn the eye of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“I think that’s always a possibility,” Cowlishaw said recently on the Rich Eisen Show. “If Jerry truly believes all the players are in place, some of these assistants – maybe not the special teams coach today – some of these assistants are pretty good, but a different voice and a more fiery personality is what this team needs. I could see him doing that. I don’t think it’s the smartest thing in the world, but I know a lot of people who think it could happen.”

On Thursday, Ben Rogers of the DFW radio-based Ben & Skin Show parroted the rumor.

“Honestly would not shock me to see Jason Witten coaching the Cowboys next season,” Rogers wrote on Twitter.

Witten signed a one-year, $4.25 million contract upon leaving the Monday Night Football booth. Dallas has their TE of the future on the roster in Blake Jarwin, but the same cannot be said about Garrett’s replacement. On the surface, this idea doesn’t seem so ludicrous, even if it’s highly unlikely to materialize.

For what it’s worth, though, Vegas doesn’t envision Witten taking the big seat in Big D. Of the many candidates linked to the gig — a wild list that includes Peyton Manning, Bill Jimmy Johnson, Tony Romo and Jones himself, among others — the 11-time Pro Bowler didn’t make the projected cut.

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Witten Speaks Out About Garrett Criticism

Say this for Garrett: He hasn’t lost the locker room. Yet. Multiple Cowboys veterans expressed their support for the embattled head coach, who resides on the hottest of seats following Dallas’ 13-9 squandry to the New England Patriots last Sunday.

Some, like Witten, believe Jones’ harsh comments after the game — born from extreme frustration — reflect on the entire squad, not just Garrett, whose own deficiencies contributed to the blown opportunity in Foxboro.

“He feels like he’s put a great team together, which he has, and we haven’t played to our expectations of where we should be,” Witten said Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning News. “That’s completely fair.”

One thing is agreeable to all: The quick turnaround for Thanksgiving, and a pivotal home matchup with the 8-3 Buffalo Bills, means those at The Star don’t have to ponder the Patriots for long. Winning cures everything, and there’s no better medicine for what ails a spiraling squad than the chance to get right on a primetime stage.

Cowboys’ Jones Hints Garrett Must Win Title to Keep Job

The united front the Cowboys’ boss cobbled together Tuesday was just that — a front. Truth is, he’s still steamed from the team’s crushing defeat in New England, and his real feelings are closer to Sunday’s postgame tirade than his blunt affirmation that in-over-his-head coach Garrett won’t be fired before year’s end.

Appearing on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday, Jones threw a modicum of support behind Garrett — “I’m a Jason Garrett man,” he admitted — but finished his segment seemingly challenging him to win the Super Bowl this season … or else.

“Let me tell you: No one in this country has earned the right to say ‘I’m a Jason Garrett man’ more than me. I am his man,” Jones said, via SB Nation. “And we want the very same thing and that’s for our players to play at their very best, and we want his staff to coach at their very best. The bottom line is we get graded- I’m in business. I don’t have to win the Super Bowl in business every year. I can come in sixth and have a hell of a year. But in this business you’ve got to come in first. You’ve got to come in first. And so fundamentally you’ve asked for something that’s a very narrow window to begin with. I want Jason to get it done.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL