ESPN offering Cowboys TE Jason Witten $4-4.5 million per year

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Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett isn't giving up on Jason Witten just yet.

But stats and flash never really defined Witten, always praised by coach Jason Garrett as the best two-way tight end in the National Football League because of his blocking ability.

Witten, per multiple people familiar with ESPN's thinking and planned approach, could join both Joe Tessitore and current ESPN/SEC Network personality Booger McFarland, a former standout player at LSU, in the "MNF" booth for the upcoming season. "The Dallas Cowboys still hope he plays".

Witten stressed the last few years - when he was asked how long he'd play - that he'd know when it was time to hang it up. "But opted to walk away from the game".

Witten, 35, was a third-round pick out of Tennessee in 2003. He is also a two-time All-Pro and 11-time Pro Bowl representative. Dez Bryant was pushed out the door, now they're trying to lock the door and keep Witten from going through it.

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Witten and Romo spent 14 seasons together, but never got the Cowboys to the NFC championship game.

The timing here might also work out very well for Witten.

As Mike Florio notes at Pro Football Talk, the most Witten can make this year if he stays in the NFL is $1.05 million in base salary and up to $750,000 in per-game roster bonuses.

The native of Elizabethton, TE trails only Tony Gonzalez for the most receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in league history. With James Hanna's move to the reserve/retired list earlier this month, the Cowboys would be down to Geoff Swaim, Rico Gathers and Blake Jarwin at the tight end position.

The news reportedly came as a surprise to the Cowboys, who ultimately drafted a tight end in the fourth round of this past weekend's draft.