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Eatman: The Catch 22 At TE Spot Remains

So the Cowboys went through their offseason OTAs and a minicamp and after watching all the practice tape, it was obvious this team felt the need to add depth and experience at tight end.

That was proven on Tuesday when they claimed John Nalbone off waivers from the Seahawks. To make room, the Cowboys cut rookie free agent George Bryan, from North Carolina State.

So Nalbone will enter his third training camp – he does have that edge over Bryan. And the Cowboys will be his seventh different team to play for – just three years after being a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins.

So you're getting excited about Nalbone huh? No probably not. Judging by the responses in the comments section, he's not exactly the popular vote to back up Jason Witten or even John Phillips, or even to be around.

But that's where there seems to be an issue at tight end, and it's been that way for about six years now.

There is a middle ground here the Cowboys haven't quite figured out. It comes down to finding an adequate backup for Jason Witten – you know the seven-time Pro Bowler, who is a good blocker, a great pass-catcher and as good a team leader that has been around in more than a decade.

Plus, he rarely comes off the field and has only missed one game in his life, and none since 2003.

The Cowboys have tried to the route of drafting one. In fact, they've spent two second-round picks and both times they were considered failures. We saw Anthony Fasano join the team in 2006 and it wasn't two years before he was deemed as a bust. The Cowboys sent him to Miami for a fourth-round pick just before the 2008 draft. That's when they took Martellus Bennett in the second round and after four years, we know how that turned out.

The question for me has always been the same: are these guys really getting a fair shot to prove themselves behind Witten?

And I'm not suggesting they should play more – at all. It comes down to taking a guy in the second round – twice – who will probably never get the chance to be a great tight end because you already have one.

Before you say "New England does it" – just remember the Cowboys have a different offense and scheme. They rely on their outside receivers way more than the Patriots. And plus, Aaron Hernandez isn't much of a tight end, but more of a big receiver.

My point is, while you could argue this team needs more depth at tight end, or needed to draft one higher than the sixth round, you have to wonder if they'll ever get the chance to live up to expectations because of playing time.

You almost wonder if the Cowboys will eventually add Jason Witten's replacement, if and when the time comes to really replace him.

It's not here at the moment so therefore, the Cowboys seem to be just filling in the spots. Personally, I think John Phillips is going to have a good season. He's that jack-of-all-trades guy and that's really what you need for any backup spot. He's not only the second tight end, but will likely be the second fullback, too.

There are some out there who think the Cowboys needed to upgrade at tight end and get a better player behind Witten. I wouldn't agree with that. Phillips has been here long enough and should be able to handle the responsibilities just fine.

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