Unleash the Blakes. The Dallas Cowboys were able to secure longtime backup tight end Blake Jarwin in the first wave of free agency on a three-year, $24.5 million deal that guarantees he'll get the nod as the starter in 2020, and rightfully so. While future Jason Witten remains a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, and although he was somewhat productive in 2019, he also logged the lowest yardage output of his otherwise illustrious career -- Jarwin having consistently proven himself the better playmaker at this stage of their careers. With Witten now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders and Jarwin named the starter the Cowboys needed to add another tight end to the roster.
They now have, and his name is Blake Bell -- the team has signed the 28-year-old to a one-year deal -- sources confirming the move to CBS Sports.
Bell is a former fourth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2015 and joining the Cowboys serves as a reunion in the making, considering it was Jim Tomsula who drafted him. Tomsula was named defensive line coach under Mike McCarthy in the 2020 regime change, but he was head coach of the 49ers when Bell was an NFL hopeful out of the University of Oklahoma. It's a one-year, $1.7 million deal for a player who is both a proven blocker and who played a career-best 209 special teams snaps for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019, en route to a Super Bowl victory.
His ability to block provides a nice complement to the athleticism of Jarwin, which is precisely what he was for All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. The addition of Bell gives the Cowboys a bit of relief as it relates to the 2020 NFL Draft, seemingly lessening their need at the position and allowing them to focus premium picks on other areas of need, namely cornerback (as one example). It also provides competition for Dalton Schultz, who hasn't ramped up as the Cowboys had hoped he would after selecting him in 2018.
That isn't to say Schultz won't make the final roster, because depth is always needed, but it's likely Bell will succeed him at TE2.