Over the past decade the tight end position in Dallas has not been a problem. Jason Witten year in and year out has been one of the top tight ends in the league. Now the league has changed, offensive schemes have become more advanced and the usage of two tight end sets have become more popular. That’s why the Dallas Cowboys drafted tight end Gavin Escobar in the second round of the 2013 draft. The 6-6 tight end wasn’t used much his rookie season- he only had nine catches.
Expect that to change in 2014 with new passing game coordinator Scott Linehan coming from Detroit. There has been a lot of speculation that Escobar will be used more in the offensive game plan this season.
Now the story moves to James Hanna, who is now entering his third season with the Cowboys. Hanna has had very little success in his first two seasons at tight end. He’s only caught 20 career passes with no touchdowns under his belt. He’s now the third tight end on the depth chart behind Witten and Escobar.
I see Hanna being in risk of losing his job because the focus wont be on him. All of the focus will be on Escobar and how he’s improving. Escobar is one of the young players on the team expected to make a big leap in his sophomore year. That just leaves Hanna with more pressure to try to impress the coaches enough to prove that he can still make an impact on this team. Hanna is a forgotten member of this offense.
It might be hard to imagine Hanna being cut because he’s so young at the age of 24. Also, because it will add depth if Witten or Escobar would go down to injury. However, it’s starting to look like Hanna isn’t much of an offensive weapon. He’s just more of a blocker, and the Cowboys are trying to have as many pass catchers on the field as possible. This offense will be fast pace in 2014 and Hanna just doesn’t seem to fit the mold.
Hanna won’t be to much of a cap hit as he’s expected to make $596,213 in 2014. The Cowboys picked up undrafted rookie tight end Jordan Najvar from Baylor. The 6-6 rookie might battle for the 3rd tight end spot and might be the reason why Hanna will get cut.
I’m not saying Hanna will get cut for sure as the team can use as much depth as possible. However if the Cowboys feel Hanna is expendable which he definitely is its a big possibility. Don’t be surprised if Hanna isn’t on the roster to start the season or is gone at some point within the season.
Check out our Dallas Cowboys page for more stories on the Cowboys.