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Jason Witten Odds After Retirement


Hoy to my fellow sports betters (as well as to the Cowboys faithful as it’s only natural you’d poke your head in to see what’s being said about your boy). Just when we thought Jason Witten had saddled up and rode off into the sunset for good, he reminded us just days ago that retirement is not always as absolute as it sounds (Somewhere my dirt farmer grandpa is sitting in the drivers seat of a school bus, nodding his head). Word came this week he’ll be back for the upcoming season donning the silver and blue. Witten will be 37 by the time the season starts, which in NFL-tight-end years is really about 63, but if there’s one guy, past or present, that I’d consider capable of staving off good old father time, it would be Witten.

This should be welcome news to Cowboys nation, specifically paying patrons of Jerry Jones’ billion dollar play pen, as Blake Jarwin’s numbers for the 2018-19 campaign were, as a fellow colleague of mine characterized it just weeks ago, “unpleasantly pedestrian.” Witten’s presence in the locker room and emergence back on the field may be godsend enough, but his production is a wildcard to keep your eyes on. To be frank, if you’re looking for above average things, the decrepit and shaky voice of history would probably say don’t hold your breath. But I like a good comeback story as well as the next guy, so without further ado.

Bovada has furnished us with some over/under odds in several categories. In this article, we’ll take a look at the bet for total receiving yards, total receptions, and total TD’s and I’ll give you my “expert” prognostication in regards to if he’ll eclipse it or not.

Total Receiving Yards for 2019-2020
Over 525.5 +110 / Under 525.5 -150

In Witten’s final years with the Cowboys, he compiled, relative to his previous seasons, an unexciting 560 receiving yards, and not for lack of availability—Witten started every game just as he had for the previous 11 seasons. Retiring after such a campaign felt as much a formality as anything. Already a few years removed from his best seasons, his stardom beginning to dim, he walked away a revered career Cowboy, a hallowed Dallas son.

But now that he’’s back, his legacy is once again in flux. His over/under has been set 34.5 yards short of his season total of 2017, during which he averaged 1.6 YAC (yards-after-catch). This is disconcerting when you consider he posted an average of four YAC the season before and had matched or exceeded that number 10 times over the course of his career. Notions to be gleaned from these stats are that Witten is no longer has the athleticism he displayed during his best years and If Witten’s mobility was declining 2 years ago, it’s likely said mobility declines even further in 2019.

So here’s what I’m thinking. When age catches up to professional athletes, it’s a long way down and they tend to fall fast. Sometimes as in off a cliff. I would deem in unwise to take the over on 525.5. The QB/TE connection with Dak Prescott is still suspect, or at least a bit unknown/undeveloped, and that body may not be as durable and those feet aren’t as supple. If you like free money, I would take the under, and feel pretty good about it.

PICK: UNDER 525.5 -150

Total Receptions in 2019-2020

Over 57.5 +120 / Under 57.5 -160

Witten has always had superb hands. They’ll need to be on full display in the 2019-2020 season for him exceed 57.5 catches. It’s not his game to severely challenge or break defensive schemes; his talent has never been elite. Maybe the best word to describe his game is reliable. Dude is built “Ford Tough.” This is the same guy who ruptured his spleen and was back to work days later, probably in the spirit of Duke Nukem uttering to both friends and foes on the field, “ just a flesh wound guys.”

57.5 catches divided by 16 games equals out to be 3.5 catches a game. The track record says you can put stock in the idea he’ll be available for every game. 3-4 catches a game for Witten, especially from a QB like Dak Prescott who is sans a deep ball, is doable. Though a little tentatively, and without betting the house or throwing in the pink slip to my uber cool Prius, I’d take the over.

PICK: OVER 57.5 +120

Total Receiving Touchdowns in the 2019-2020 Regular Season

Over 3.5 -110 / Under 3.5 -130

Witten is not many things as a player, especially relative to what his teammates have to offer. But one thing you can bet he is, is one of the better red zone threat in close coverage. He’ll be a nice addition to bolster the Cowboys red zone attack.

He caught 5 total TD’s in the 2017 season and has exceeded 3.5 TD’s 9 times during his career. He’s never been a top notch threat in the red zone. Certainly, there have been other tight ends more bonafide or prolific plucking the pigskins from small windows beyond the goal line. But he’ll be a nice option for Dak when opposing defenses blow up routes. Yet, with Zeke and other playmakers in action, he may be limited the opportunities. This over under feels like the biggest toss up. More based on luck then what you can prognosticate logically.

                                                                                                                      PICK: UNDER 3.5 TD’s

Joshua Beal
Josh is a die-hard Jazz fan and lifelong fan of the NBA. Beyond being plugged into the Jazz/NBA, too much of his free time is spent penning sentences in coffee shops and lionizing words he discovers in his Oxford dictionary. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaFBeal