Rookies Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott emerge as stars during an 11-game win streak, leading to a 13-3 regular-season record. But a gut-wrenching divisional-round loss to the Packers kept the Cowboys from advancing in the post season. Star-Telegram photos Editing by Mark Hoffer
Rookies Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott emerge as stars during an 11-game win streak, leading to a 13-3 regular-season record. But a gut-wrenching divisional-round loss to the Packers kept the Cowboys from advancing in the post season. Star-Telegram photos Editing by Mark Hoffer

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys get cap flexibility with 4-year contract extension for Witten

By Clarence E. Hill Jr.

chill@star-telegram.com

March 28, 2017 01:46 PM

UPDATED March 28, 2017 02:37 PM

PHOENIX

While best friend and former quarterback Tony Romo is headed out the door, tight end Jason Witten reaffirmed his commitment to the Dallas Cowboys by signing a four-year contract extension Tuesday, per executive vice president Stephen Jones.

Witten didn’t get any guaranteed money in the new deal, which has a value of $29.6 million.

But it gives Cowboys flexibility in being able to restructure his contract for cap relief.

The Cowboys have roughly $200,000 in available cap money, according to a source.

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Vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys will exercise the option in the contract to gain cap relief year.

“We are just lucky to have him,” Jones said from the NFL Owners meetings in Phoenix. “He wants to make sure he is never not in the last year of his contract. It worked out for everybody. It helped us under the cap this year as well.

Witten, who will be 35 next season, was in the final year of his contract with a base salary of $7.4 million and a $12.2 million cap hit. The Cowboys turn the base salary into a signing bonus to lower his cap hit this year.

But can Witten play four more years?

“If I’m betting on anybody to do it, I’m betting on Witten,” Jones said.

The deal ensures that the team’s all-time leading receiver and likely future Hall of Famer is a Cowboy for life with a future past the 2017 season.

“There was a combination of objectives,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Certainly the cap relief was something but also making sure Jason Witten was with us as we go forward. “He’s a guy who represents what we want in our football team. He represents that each and every day in everything that he does. He is a great example beyond being a great football player.”

Witten is a 10-time Pro Bowler with a team-record 1,089 catches for 11,888 yards. He needs 17 receiving yards to pass Michael Irvin’s team mark of 11,904.

He has played in more consecutive games (219) or started more consecutive games (163) than anyone in Cowboys history.

He is sixth all-time in NFL history in receptions and second among tight ends behind Tony Gonzalez.

He remains an important veteran voice and leader in a locker room that will begin next season with only two players over the age of 30, Witten and deep snapper L.P. Ladouceur.

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr