|Tony Romo keeps one of his favorite targets in Dallas through 2017. (Getty Images)|
The Cowboys signed tight end Jason Witten early Sunday morning to a five-year, $37 million contract extension that includes $19 million in guarantees, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman. Now one of the NFL's best pass-catching tight ends, and quarterback Tony Romo's go-to guy, is signed through 2017.
Witten hauled in 94 passes for 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns last season, even though Romo was lost for the final 10 games. Just how good were those numbers? According to Football Outsiders, Witten ranked third in total value among all NFL tight ends behind only Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski, two players who caught passes from Philip Rivers and Tom Brady all season long.
Last month, the Seahawks signed tight end Zach Miller to a five-year contract worth $34 million, including $17 million in guarantees. By comparison, Miller had 60 catches for 685 yards and five touchdowns a last season with the Raiders. He also ranked 19th in total value, according to Football Outsiders. Of course, Miller played in Oakland, where he was often the only reliable downfield passing option, and he played on a team built around the run.
As for Dallas, there's no reason to think Witten, 29, won't continue to play at a high level. He's had at least 80 catches and 950 yards receiving in each of the last four seasons, and 2011 shouldn't be any different. We'll find out on Sunday night when the Cowboys begin their season against the Jets.
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