Dallas Cowboys Position Analysis: Tight End/Fullback

Jeff PrinceContributor IFebruary 10, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Tight end Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


That's the term that comes to mind when I think about how Jerry Jones feels when talking about his group of tight ends heading into next season.

Yes, I know, Pro Bowler Jason Witten is locked in as your starter.

But what do you do with the other two guys, Martellus Bennett and John Phillips?

Let's start with Jason Witten...

Jason Witten: Only a "severe" injury will keep Witten from being your starter next season. This guy is as tough as nails and extremely reliable.

Witten had his second best year as a Cowboy this season, accumulating 1,030 yards on 94 receptions.

Although he only found the endzone twice, he was Romo's favorite and most reliable target.

Since 2004, Witten has started in at least 15 of the 16 regular season games per year.

That's reliability folks.

You can't see me, but I have a Dr. Pepper in one of my hands as I slowly peck at the keys. Now I will raise my DP and toast one for Jason Witten!

Martellus Bennett: Here is where it becomes confusing for Jerry.

Bennett had a severe drop in productivity this season. Statistically speaking, his receiving yards total decreased 56 percent, from 283 yards in his rookie season to a whopping 159 yards this year.

This type of productivity would get you cut on most NFL teams. However, Bennett's upside and potential give him another shot to redeem himself.

If Jerry decides to keep Bennett and not trade him away, Martellus will have his work cut out for him.

Bennett must use this offseason to mature and work on his game or he'll be considered one of those guys who let an immature personality overshadow the play on the field. If he chooses the latter, there's a guy named John Phillips who will gladly take his spot.

It's safe to say though, Martellus will be back next year as Witten's primary backup.

John Phillips: This tough and reliable rookie came on late in the season. Phillips made an impression on the Cowboys' staff while filling in due to injuries to fullback Deon Anderson and Bennett.

Phillips played great in two tight end sets with Witten.

If Bennett doesn't elevate his game, Phillips could easily take the backup spot. Also, with the imminent departure of Anderson, Phillips could take over fullback duties if the 'Boys decide not to bring someone in during the offseason.

Deon Anderson: Here was your fullback for this past season.

After his recent run-in with the law, it's safe to say he's gone. So I won't even waste time going over Anderson's productivity. It's a lost cause.

However, the 'Boys will need to fill this spot in the upcoming months. Do you move Phillips to fullback? Do you draft someone to fill the spot? Do you sign a free-agent or an undrafted rookie to replace Anderson?

Some available names to look at in the draft are Matt Clapp of Oklahoma and Cory Jackson of Maryland.

Final Analysis: In my opinion, why keep Bennett, who is known to be a bit of a diva? Trade him for a high draft pick, or include him in a packaged trade.

You've got a great tight end with Witten, and a good all-around player in Phillips. Draft the best available tight end in the sixth or seventh round of the upcoming draft, and get rid of Bennett if you can bring back a valued asset in exchange.