The Cowboys signed Witten to a four-year extension that runs through 2021, ESPN's Todd Archer reports. Witten will celebrate his 35th birthday in May as he prepares for his 15th NFL season. While it can safely be assumed the final few years of his extension don't contain any guaranteed money, the deal still suggests he'll consider playing beyond 2017 and give the team a little more time to find and develop his successor at tight end. Witten is coming off a 2016 campaign in which he fell shy of 700 receiving yards for the first time since his rookie season, catching 69 of 95 targets for 673 yards and three touchdowns. His decreased production was partially a result of the Cowboys' run-heavy offense, but he should be able to handle an every-down role for at least another year or two. It's possible the offense could open up a bit in Dak Prescott's sophomore campaign.
Witten intends on returning for the 2017 season, ESPN's Todd Archer reports. Witten's 14th season came to a close with Sunday's playoff defeat to the Packers, but the veteran plans on continuing his career next season. At 34 years old, Witten finished second on the Cowboys with 69 receptions for 673 yards and three touchdowns this year, and he also scored his first postseason touchdown Sunday. In what's currently slated to be his final season under contract in Dallas, Witten could very well become the franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards and games played while suiting up in 2017.
Witten caught the only target sent his way for 10 yards in a 27-13 loss to the Eagles in Week 17. The Cowboys rested all their key personnel in advance of the playoffs, and as a result Witten had a fairly uneventful Week 17. The 34-year-old had his worst statistical season since he was a rookie, catching 69 passes on 95 targets for 673 yards and three TDs, and Cole Beasley emerged as Dak Prescott's preferred option when Dallas needed to move the chains, but Witten should return in a similar role in 2017 as he looks to pass Michael Irvin and become the franchise's career leader in receiving yards.
Witten caught two of four targets for 33 yards and a touchdown in Monday's 42-21 win over the Lions. Witten didn't receive nearly as many looks as he did while hauling in 10 catches last week, but he was on the receiving end of Dez Bryant's first career touchdown pass on a play that wowed the crowd late in the fourth quarter. With three touchdowns to his name, Witten will join the rest of the starters in taking the field against the Eagles next week, although his workload could be limited if the team jumps ahead on the scoreboard.
Witten all 10 of his targets for 51 yards in Sunday's 26-20 win over the Buccaneers. Although he averaged just 5.1 yards per catch, Witten served as a valuable security valve for Dak Prescott and helped the team with several crucial grabs to move the chains. Witten has caught 14 passes in two weeks since his 130-game streak with a reception ended, and he figures to maintain a similar role in next week's matchup with the Lions.
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