The Dallas Cowboys just lost their veteran tight end to retirement, so what is the possibility that the team goes after someone via trade or free agency?
The Dallas Cowboys do not have a lot of experience amongst the tight ends on their roster. With legendary Cowboy Jason Witten retiring the team has somewhat of a hole a the tight end position. Sure no one will ever replace Witten but there is not a lot of players that we will not be used to seeing line up at that position.
Players like Blake Jarwin, Rico Gathers, Geoff Swaim, and fourth-round rookie Dalton Schultz will be counted on to carry the load. So does this mean the Cowboys will look to go after some veteran free agent/trade options? Let’s explore the possibilities…
All the big name tight ends of the 2018 free agency season have already been signed however there are still some useful role players remaining on the open market. Players like Coby Fleener (29), Julius Thomas (29), Antonio Gates (37), Brent Celek (33), and Marcedes Lewis (33) are just some of the names currently available.
Easily Fleener and Thomas are the most interesting names on the list but if Gates wants to end his career on a high note, with a competitor, Dallas could be the answer. It is seemingly very obvious that out of all of the free agents on the market it will be tough for the Cowboys to find anyone that can immediately contribute to this football team.
Fleener is likely your best shot, but he could not find a rhythm with Drew Brees or Andrew Luck, that says more about him than it does about those legendary quarterbacks. Bottom line, unless a player of interest gets released that the team really likes, there should be no movement here.
This route seems to make the most sense as the Dallas Cowboys could see the most bang for their buck. Immediate names that jump out are guys like Rob Gronkowski (28), Josh Hill (27), and Tyler Eifert (27). Gronkowski seems to be on his way out in New England, he is on the final year of his contract and has not shown a commitment to playing a lot longer.
Gronk is still a game-changing tight end though (when he is healthy). If anyone could help Dallas move on from Witten it would be him. I would part with a second or third round pick to move Gronk to Big D and it could be the most beneficial thing for him at this point. The New England Patriots dynasty appears to be coming to an end and a lot of talented players will need a place to land.
The team sending Gronk to the Dallas Cowboys would make a lot of sense in the long run. Eifert would be more of a gamble as the Cincinnati Bengals do not like to trade and the player in question has battled injuries throughout his entire career. When Eifert is healthy, he is productive and that is the only reason why he is still a Bengal.
His value also plummeted after an injury plagued 2017 season. Eifert could be acquired with a steep discount if the Bengals do not see a future in which they re-sign him. He has one year left on his deal and should draw some interest.
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Hill underperformed last season and could finally find a stable role in the Dallas Cowboys offense if they are able to get something done for the Saints starter. His name is not nearly as flashy as the other names on the list, however, he would be a solid role player for the Cowboy offense.
Hill could immediately come in and give Dak Prescott more of a cushion in the passing game. It is tough to say whether or not Hill is better than Jarwin or Swaim as they would likely draw some comparisons to one another.
Unless the Cowboys actually pull the trigger on a trade that brings Gronk or another big name to Dallas it is tough to see it happening.
The Dallas Cowboys have about three tight ends they would be comfortable within a game, and that is likely enough. They will explore options but unless a team makes an unbelievable player available Dallas will likely go into the season with what they have.
Only a handful of free agents are interesting and they are typically over their 30s. I could see them doing a one year deal with a veteran but it would tough to see them go out and pay big money to any free agent at this point.
Whatever the Cowboys decide the team should have adequate depth at the position heading into 2018.