IRVING, Texas – Most tight ends wouldn't get much playing time behind Jason Witten. As the start of free agency would indicate, that doesn't mean the players sitting behind Witten lacked talent.
Three former Cowboys tight ends reportedly signed with new teams just one hour into the start of free agency Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT, with Anthony Fasano going to the Chiefs, Martellus Bennett going to the Bears and John Phillips heading to the Chargers.
Phillips is the latest backup tight end to leave Dallas, heading to San Diego after three seasons with the Cowboys. A knee injury forced him out for the 2010 season, but he suited up for all 16 games in 2009, 2011 and 2012. He wasn't much of a threat in the passing game in his last season in Dallas, catching eight passes on 10 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown, but he could be productive with more looks.
Though Phillips will still be behind Antonio Gates on the depth chart, the Chargers clearly hope he'll have a similar jump in statistics as the previous backup tight ends that left Dallas.
Fasano began his career in Dallas in 2006, hauled in 14 catches apiece in 2006 and 2007. He compiled 126 receiving yards his rookie season and 143 receiving yards and a touchdown his second year. Fasano finished with at least 332 yards and two touchdowns in each of his next five seasons, all in Miami. [embedded_ad]
Bennett never really panned out in Dallas after a rookie season with 20 catches, 283 yards and four touchdowns, though the untapped potential was always there. He had his best season last year with the Giants, grabbing 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns. He also had 90 targets in 2012, which was three times more than he had in three of his four seasons with the Cowboys.