FRISCO, Texas – The month of February is always the transition period from one season to the next. The 2019 season is in the rearview mirror, especially with a brand-new coaching staff in place.
The next step for the team is player personnel, which mostly takes place in March with the start of free agency. The first day of the new league year is March 18, although the Cowboys will have several other decisions to make before then, thanks to 25 unrestricted free agents.
Before we get too far down the road, let's take an overview at each position, finding out what they've got, what they need and some big decisions to make.
Today, we'll break down the tight end position.
Coach In Charge: Lunda Wells
Wells is only 36-years-old-- one year younger than Jason Witten. He had spent the previous eight seasons with the division rival New York Giants, most recently as their tight ends coach and worked with their offensive line prior to that.
"In my opinion, you coach a tight end to be a tight end. You don't coach him to be a pass-catching tight end. You don't coach him to be a run blocking tight end. A true tight end is effective in every phase; run game, pass protection, and passing game. What's expected is we're going to be very intentional with our work and going about our business to put out there the best overall tight end that we can."
Biggest Question: Will Jason Witten Return?
Witten will be 38 at the start of next season. His hands and competitiveness are still as reliable as ever, but acceleration isn't exactly in his repertoire at this point. Witten suggested that he would know his future shortly after the season, but has made no announcement at this point. He has stated that he hopes to coach in the NFL at some point. His close relationship with newly hired Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is also worth monitoring.
What They Have: An Opportunity to Prove
Jason Witten has defined the tight end position for a handful of presidential terms at this point. If Witten isn't on the roster next season, Blake Jarwin (25) and Dalton Schultz (23) are the two young tight ends who could stop into much larger roles than they've ever played. Both saw the field in all 16 games and Jarwin started seven games, but if increased snaps are what could lead to a breakout year, they'll both get the opportunity in the upcoming season.
Immediate Need: Production
The Super Bowl recently featured two teams who relied heavily on dynamic tight ends who contributed to big plays with pass catching and run blocking. Meanwhile, it's been about three seasons since Dallas has gotten above average production at tight end, and if they don't believe Jarwin or Schultz can provide it, expect them to look to the draft to fill that void in the offense.