NFL Expert Legitimizes Cowboys TE Jason Witten as Future Head Coach

Jason Witten

Getty Jason Witten

As Jason Witten ponders his next move, there’s momentum pushing the Dallas Cowboys‘ veteran tight end to swap his cleats for a headset.

FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, who’s as plugged-in as they come, recently divulged to SB Nation that he can see Witten transitioning from player to coach — someday.

Like anyone else most others, Glazer explained, the 38-year-old (in May) probably would have to start out fetching coffee before angling for a head-coaching gig.

“So Witt needs to understand, if he’s going to get into coaching, he needs to start as a grunt,” Glazer said last month during pre-Super Bowl festivities in Miami. “I think he thinks that he knows everything that goes on in the coaching world. He’s got to start literally as almost a quality control guy, work your way up. Cause then he’s going to do himself a disservice if he doesn’t. So he needs to really kind of learn from the very bottom rung and walk up that ladder, and I think he eventually he can be a head coach, yeah.”

An impending free agent, Witten unretired last offseason for a second (and perhaps final) stint with Dallas, the only team he’s known in 17 years as a pro. After a nondescript 2019 campaign in which he caught 63 passes for 529 yards and four touchdowns — his lowest output since his 2003 rookie season — he watched as the Cowboys changed regimes, firing Jason Garrett and hiring Mike McCarthy.

Witten was speculated as a longshot candidate to succeed Garrett. That didn’t happen, obviously.

Then it was presumed he may stick around as the club’s new tight ends coach, working under McCarthy. Didn’t happen, as Dallas imported Lunda Wells from the G-Men.

Then a rumor suggested he follow Garrett, the Giants’ new offensive coordinator, to the Big Apple and coach TEs there. Didn’t happen, as New York settled on former Browns HC Freddie Kitchens to serve in that capacity.

Which leaves Witten three options: return to the Cowboys as a player, suit up for another club, or retire … permanently. To that extent, he remains undecided.

“I’m not sure yet,” he told Heavy during Super Bowl week. “I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but it will definitely still involve football being at the forefront.”

The Cowboys should expect Witten to announce his plans prior to March 18, the official start of free agency. And at this point, it’d be a surprise if he hasn’t logged his last down in a silver and blue uniform.

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ESPN Releases Prediction on Witten

The Worldwide Leader surveyed each of its NFL team writers for their offseason predictions, and Cowboys reporter Todd Archer seems to believe Witten might resurface at The Star in 2020 — as the enemy.

“At the end of 2019, Witten said he would make a quick decision on his future, which led many to think he would retire and potentially get into coaching,” Archer wrote. “He still hasn’t made one, which brings the playing element into focus. Witten is the franchise leader in length of service, games played, catches and receiving yards. He is one shy of equaling Dez Bryant’s team record for touchdown catches. He is a Cowboy through and through. The Cowboys like Blake Jarwin’s development and could look to add a tight end early in the draft. Witten was productive in his return as a blocker and receiver in 2019, but he turns 38 in May and the arrival of Mike McCarthy as coach could mean the right time for an amicable separation.”

The Patriots, Steelers, Colts, and Redskins are among teams that enter the offseason in need of tight end help. That’s not to say they’ll jump at the chance to sign Witten, but he’ll at least receive some feelers on the open market.

As for the Cowboys, like Archer mentioned, they’re slated to move forward with Jarwin as the new starter, though they too might prioritize the position in free agency or the draft.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL