The Dallas Cowboys are going to have plenty of offensive firepower in 2020, but tight end Blake Jarwin has the potential to be a breakout star for the team. Heading into his fourth NFL season, Jarwin has slowly started to carve out a larger role in the Cowboys offense. Now, heading into 2020, there’s a lot going for the Cowboys tight end that should allow him to have an even bigger impact on the offense.
Blake Jarwin is now the starting tight end
Jarwin has spent his first three seasons with the Cowboys battling for the starting TE position prior to 2020. Even last season, Jarwin was forced to take a more limited role behind Jason Witten, who had decided to come out of retirement and reunite with his former team.
This season, Jarwin won’t have to worry about competing with a future Hall of Fame tight end like Witten, who is now with the Oakland Raiders. The Cowboys even made sure to let Jarwin know he was the guy moving forward by signing him to a three-year contract extension worth up to $24.2 million.
A big extension like that sends a message to Jarwin and the rest of the team that he will be the starting TE in 2020. A full-time starting role should help Jarwin see a big increase in production after being targeted just 41 times last season.
However, being the starter alone won’t guarantee that Jarwin has a breakout season.
Defenses will struggle to focus on Jarwin
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has never had more weapons at his disposal in his pro career. Opposing defenses will have to gameplan for a strong run game and a lot of talented receivers, potentially allowing for Jarwin to be the open man more often than not.
New head coach Mike McCarthy will have plenty of weapons at his disposal in the passing game. At wide receiver, the Cowboys are stacked with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and first-round pick CeeDee Lamb. McCarthy will be able to draw up all kinds of plays with those receivers, and that will also allow Jarwin to find soft spots in coverage with defenses having to focus so much on all of those weapons.
As a former undrafted free agent, Jarwin is used to being overlooked, and that will be no different in 2020. During his time with the Green Bay Packers, McCarthy made sure to get his TEs involved in the passing game, and with all of the receivers at his disposal, he should have no issues drawing up plays that will allow Jarwin to find the open field and pick up chunks of yards.
Can Blake Jarwin become the NFL’s next great tight end?
Jarwin isn’t the only tight end to sign a big contract extension in 2020. Both Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce and San Francisco star George Kittle signed massive extensions heading into this season, and Jarwin is hoping to make enough of an impact to be in that same conversation with those two playmakers as a top-tier player at the position.
From a volume standpoint, Jarwin will certainly have plenty of opportunities to make plays like Kelce or Kittle. Last season, Witten was targeted 82 times in the Cowboys offense, and Jarwin is likely to see a similar share of targets, even with all of the weapons in the passing game.
Where Jarwin will really be able to stand out in 2020 is in the red zone. Prescott showed a willingness to look Jarwin’s way last season when near the end zone, and that kind of familiarity is certain to carry over into this year.
Although Jarwin may not have the blocking ability that makes a player like Kittle so dominant and versatile, a high number of targets, a plethora of weapons around him, and a connection with Prescott in the red zone could allow him to become a breakout star in 2020.