Jason Witten plans to retire, join Monday Night Football


On Dallas sports radio Thursday afternoon, vice president Stephen Jones didn't have any updates on Witten's future, but didn't mention his name among the team's tight ends heading into next season.

The Jason Witten news caught everyone by surprise when it was announced that he was going to retire from the Dallas Cowboys and was join ESPN's Monday Night Football crew as an analyst.

An 11-time Pro Bowl selection, Witten, 35, will replace Jon Gruden and work alongside Joe Tessitore in the revamped National Football League showcase.

And the cupboard is almost empty at tight end. A sure-fire Hall of Famer in five or six years as the Cowboys' all-time leader in receiving yards, games played and consecutive starts, Witten leaves just when the Cowboys desperately need him to stay. His former teammate, Romo, retired at the end of 2016 to become the lead football analyst on CBS. Witten would be the third Cowboys player to be in the No. 1 broadcast team for a network.

He also has 21 games in his career with more than 100 receiving yards, one of only seven tight ends to achieve that feat.

Witten, 35, would likely be joined in the booth by Joe Tessitore, who the New York Post's Andrew Marchand reported in March would be taking over for play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough after just two seasons.

The news could definitely affect the direction the Dallas Cowboys look to go in with the second day of the NFL Draft starting Friday evening. Tartt is one of nine draft picks remaining on the team selected by former general manager Trent Baalke. He has 51 tackles in his career.

Dallas has picks in the middle of the second and third rounds, respectively, before charging up for seven picks in the final four on Saturday. After averaging 11 yards-per-catch for most of his career, Witten has averaged under 10 yards-a-catch the last three seasons - including a career-low 8.9 in 2017. 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.