The Cowboys have seemingly made a big statement at the tight end position on Monday.
They had several options in front of them, including the chance to re-sign one of the greatest players to ever play the position, but instead the Cowboys are seemingly making Blake Jarwin the future at tight end.
And the future apparently starts now, as the Cowboys have signed Jarwin to a three-year extension that can be as much as $24.2 million with over $9 million guaranteed. The entire contract is over four seasons.
The Cowboys could've only issued a tender offer to Jarwin, who was a restricted free agent. That likely would've kept him on the team in 2020 but then made him an unrestricted free agent after the season.
The Cowboys chose to bypass that scenario and sign him to a deal that likely makes him the starting tight end next season.
The irony here is that future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, who has been the Cowboys' starting tight end for 16 of the last 17 years, is expected to become a free agent this week. Witten has not only said he wants to return for another year, but has made it clear he prefers to be with the Cowboys. Even owner/GM Jerry Jones said two weeks ago he doesn't want Witten to play for another team and still believes he can contribute.
But he also said the decision to return would hinge on Witten being able to accept his role. And while they might've been somewhat unclear at the time, it has become clear now with the team's decision to lock up Jarwin.
He joined the Cowboys in 2017 and spent most of the year on the practice squad. Jarwin actually had the chance to sign with the Eagles, who tried to sign him to their roster late in the season but the Cowboys opted to keep him and found a spot on their roster for him. That move likely kept Jarwin from earning a Super Bowl ring as the Eagles won their first title later that season.
As for Jarwin, he received a bigger role in the offense in 2018 with Witten's exit. He caught 27 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns – all occurring in the regular-season finale against the Giants.
Last year, even with Witten back in the fold, Jarwin again played in all 16 games with seven starts – mostly when the Cowboys opened the game with two tight ends. He had 31 catches for 365 yards and three more touchdowns.
The signing of Jarwin doesn't exactly close the book on Witten, but as Jones said when talking to reporters at the scouting combine, it will likely come down to Witten's willingness to have a reduced role, which likely includes him being a backup.