Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna

NFL Rumors: Dallas Cowboys Surprisingly Sign James Hanna To Unexpected Contract

NFL rumors have been swirling around James Hanna. Many were under the impression that he was going to be leaving the Dallas Cowboys because management wanted an upgrade at the tight end position. Some thought that he was going to be signing with the San Diego Chargers because he scheduled a visit with them. According to NBC Sports, the Cowboys have decided that they want Hanna to stick around for another three seasons, so they spent $8.25 million to make it happen.

Though he was an excellent catcher when he played college football for the Oklahoma Sooners, James Hanna had developed into a blocking tight end in the NFL. That’s how the Dallas Cowboys utilized him as a complement to Jason Witten. When you’re playing with one of the best tight ends in the history of the National Football League, you generally want to lay low and let him have all the spotlight that he deserves.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten
Jason Witten [Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images]
For the longest time, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has been wanting to implement a two tight end system. He feels that it makes it really difficult for opposing NFL defenses to compete when there’s a balanced attack. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were terrorizing the league for the New England Patriots before the former decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life in prison instead of making millions of dollars in the National Football League.

James Hanna is a role player, and the Dallas Cowboys like him for that. However, for the two tight end system to truly blossom, they needed another tight end that was more of a star. The belief is that Hanna is going to get a chance to earn that number two tight end spot, as you can usually find competent number three tight ends for less than a million dollars a year. Whether or not Hanna is up for the role is an uncertainty at this point.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar
Gavin Escobar [Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]
One thing that makes the James Hanna signing even more interesting is the fact that he now is seemingly viewed higher than Gavin Escobar. The former San Diego State Aztecs star was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the NFL Draft in 2012. Tight ends don’t normally go that high, so when you are chosen in that spot, then that generally means that the team expects you to be a star in the National Football League.

Something that makes the James Hanna signing interesting is the fact that the Dallas Cowboys already have a number three tight end on the roster. Geoff Swaim is still under contract to the team. It leads many to believe that the Cowboys are really going to commit more to the dual tight end sets because NFL teams usually just keep three tight ends on the roster. The added depth makes it seem like Dallas is going to be utilizing their tight end depth even more so than before.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim
Geoff Swaim [Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images]
For the San Diego Chargers, this is a bit of a disappointment. The team lost Ladarius Green to the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. Green thought it would be best for his NFL career to play with Ben Roethlisberger instead of Philip Rivers. The Chargers were hoping that Ladarius would have stuck around to eventually replace Antonio Gates, the 35-year-old who still remains one of the better players in the National Football League.

Surprises happen all the time when it comes to free agency in the NFL. That’s one of the things that makes this time of year so fascinating and entertaining. Teams in the National Football League are hoping to improve their chances of making it to the Super Bowl, and it starts now.

[Photo by Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images]

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