In less than a month, the Dallas Cowboys have lost two of their top three receiving talents from the 2017 NFL season. The release of wide receiver Dez Bryant sent shockwaves through the league and the talented wide out is still sitting out there as a free agent. Now, the Cowboys will also be without the services of tight end Jason Witten who is going to retire and join the brand new ESPN broadcast team for Monday Night Football.
Back in 2003, Witten was drafted in the third round by the Cowboys and Dallas is the place he has called home for his entire career. Throughout his 15 years in the NFL, Witten has played in 16 games in each and every single season except for his rookie campaign in which he played in 15.
Witten has four 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, but his production had started going down in the last five years. 2017 was actually the second-lowest yardage outing of his career as he gained 560 yards which is only less than his rookie year of 347.
Still, he had the third-highest receiving yards for the Dallas Cowboys being only behind Dez Bryant (838 yards) and Terrance Williams (560). With his retirement, Dallas has lost more than 1,300 yards in the passing game while ESPN is gaining a knowledgeable new broadcaster.
As reported by NBC DFW, Jason Witten’s retirement became known to the NFL-loving world on Friday morning which is right after the first round of the NFL Draft. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeted out that Witten was still planning on meeting with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, but plans appeared to be set.
Jason Witten is planning to retire after 15 years to join ESPN’s new Monday Night Football broadcast team as a lead analyst but will meet today with owner Jerry Jones before making his decision final, per sources.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 27, 2018
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed the news shortly after.
This is true. Witten is expected to retire and join the broadcast booth. https://t.co/Sraz7JLfta
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 27, 2018
Obviously, this is not the best news for the Dallas Cowboys and it isn’t even something they were prepared to find out on Friday morning. Reports are coming out that they were completely surprised by Witten’s retirement and had no idea it was even coming.
Cowboys were not prepared for Jason Witten to retire. The irony is he blindsided them late in process like they did Dez Bryant. What will make you laugh will make you cry. He did what was best for him in terms of timing. It ain’t personal its business.
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) April 27, 2018
Adam Schefter made an amusing, but interesting, point that the networks are the major leagues to the Dallas Cowboys which are the minor leagues. Troy Aikman, is at FOX, Tony Romo is over at CBS, and Witten will now join ESPN as one of their lead NFL analysts.
The loss of Jason Witten to retirement and ESPN means that the Dallas Cowboys are going to take some long looks at the tight end position in rounds two and three of the NFL Draft on Friday night. Monday Night Football is going to look entirely different for the upcoming NFL season, but so will the offensive side of the ball for the Cowboys after this shocking announcement.