Although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t seem ready to admit it, tight end Jason Witten is fully expected to follow through on retirement and become an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link), who called Witten’s shift to the Worldwide Leader a “done deal.” If Witten does indeed hang up his cleats, he could be stuck in a thorny contractual issue with Dallas. The Cowboys converted $4.7MM of Witten’s base salary into a signing bonus earlier this year, but could now ask for that money back, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Dallas released quarterback Tony Romo last summer, allowing him to retain all of his bonus money in the process, and it’s fair to wonder if the club will do the same for Witten, who is expected to command a salary of $4-4.5MM at ESPN.
Here’s more from the NFC East:
- Despite not adding a single defensive back in last weekend’s draft, the Cowboys are not expected to have interest in free agent safeties Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, or Tre Boston, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Dallas did’t have any interest in either of the three veterans pre-draft and doesn’t believe any would fit its defensive scheme. For what’s it worth, the Cowboys reportedly tried to acquire Vaccaro at the 2017 trade deadline. Safeties in general have had a hard time generating buzz this offseason, with one agent telling Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com that defensive backs aren’t getting offers of even “one year, $3MM.” For now, Dallas will likely roll with Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath at safety after moving former first-round pick Byron Jones to cornerback.
- If the Redskins had released defensive tackle Terrell McClain earlier this year (instead of on Monday), he’d likely already be back on the Cowboys roster, tweets David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Dallas picked up former second-round interior defender Jihad Ward from the Raiders in a draft-day exchange that sent wideout Ryan Switzer to Oakland, but they’re still expected to express interest in McClain. The 29-year-old McClain spent the 2014-16 campaigns in Dallas, and was a 15-game starter during his final season with the Cowboys.
- Eagles defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan recently underwent surgery for a herniated disc, per Howard Eskin of WIP-FM (link via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer). As such, Jernigan won’t participate in spring workouts but is fully expected to be ready for 2018 regular season. Philadelphia acquired Jernigan from the Ravens last April, sacrificing just a 25-slot drop in the third round in order to land the now-25-year-old. After a productive debut year with the Eagles, Jernigan inked a four-year, $48MM extension that should keep him in town through 2021.