Originally Posted by CowboyMike
I agree with most of your post, but what's to say he can't remain a freak of nature into his mid-30s? Gonzales has done it. Many wide receivers have remained productive well into their 30s.
Running backs slow down after their 30s due to the absolute pounding they take. Other positions tend to last a little bit longer and their still in their prime in their early 30s.
Just to be clear. No one is saying OMG let's cut Witten.
If Witten catches 40 balls a year I'd still want him here.
He would still be a tremendous asset on and off the field.
He'll almost assuredly retire a Cowboy and go into the Ring of Honor then Hall of Fame.
All that said what makes Witten special is he is a true combo player. He is an OL type technician in the blocking game and in the weight room. He is also a WR type in all the route-running and hands work he does... as well as additional speed and agility work. He has been at this for a long time. And it is a full-time gig. His body is pushed regularly. To quote Barkley "Father Time bests us all".
It isn't fair to count on Witten being a 26 year old version of himself. Give the guy a rest every now and then. He doesn't need full series off but surely some plays would help.
If we get Witten to 70 catches with still top notch blocking that is outstanding production.
I saw Staubach age, then Emmitt. The most special ones give you all they've got but eventually they do run out. I am a life long athlete but at 39 there is no way I could hope to compare to myself at 25. Human bodies just aren't made that way.
Witten has great football intelligence and great hands. Those things tend to last. How long he can run routes with great agility and handle blocking 24 year old DE's is really the question. But I dont think anyone is saying he can't do those things right now.
With TNew I was very worried about his last contract. He was an aging player at an unforgiving position. I felt he was slightly overrated here. Good coverage guy but seldom the playmaker you'd like for a top 5 pick. If 3 years from now Witten has a TNew like fall-apart season I want the team to be prepared to handle it better than they were with TNew (rolling out Frank Walker).