Looking back at the careers of Jason Witten and Jay Cutler

Today, it was reported by ESPN that their sources told them legendary Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten would be retiring. While his decision is not officially final, it seems like the end the line for one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history as he will join ESPN as a Monday Night Football analyst.

Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport reported that former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler would be retiring. In his 12 year career, Cutler has been at the center of a love/hate relationship with fans due to his on-field play and demeanor. With both players seemingly calling it a career, let’s take a look to see where they rank statistically in NFL history using Pro Football Reference.

Jason Witten 

In his 15 year career, Jason Witten has proven to be one of the best tight ends to ever play in the NFL. A third-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft out of Tennesse, he has proven to be a reliable target for the likes of Drew Bledsoe, Tony Romo, and Dak Prescott.

He has made the Pro Bowl 11 times in his career and was honored as the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2012. Witten has also been named to two AP All-Pro 1st teams and two AP All-Pro 2nd teams.

Category Stats Ranks among Cowboys Ranks among all TE Ranks among all receivers
Games played 239 1  2 *7
Games started 229 1  2  2
Receptions 1,152 1 2 4
Receiving yards 12,448 1 2 21
TD 68 3 *5 T-46
Pro Bowls 11 *T-1 2 T-3

*Pro Bowls: Tied with Bob Lily

*Games played: Not counting Trey Junkin, who was primarily a long snapper.

*TD: Not counting Harold Carmichael who mostly played receiver

Witten is also one of the few players to rank in the top 30 all-time for receiving yards while having played his entire career for one team.

Bolded players are still playing, italicized players are in Hall of Fame

Player Team Rank Yards
Larry Fitzgerald Cardinals 3 15,454
Marvin Harrison Colts 9 14,580
Reggie Wayne Colts 10 14,345
Steve Largent Seahawks 18 13,089
Jason Witten Cowboys 21 12,448
Hines Ward Steelers 25 12,083
Michael Irvin Cowboys 27 11,904
Calvin Johnson Lions 29 11,619
Antonio Gates Chargers 30 11,508


Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler was a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt. He spent three years with the team, making the Pro Bowl in 2008, He was then traded to the Chicago Bears, spending eight up-and-down seasons there.

Cutler made his only career playoff appearance in 2010 with the team. He then briefly retired after being released by the Bears before unretiring to spend last season with the Miami Dolphins.

Category Career Stats *Ranks among Bears Ranks among all QB
Games played 153 17 71
QB Rating 85.3 *1 T-33
Completions 3048 1 24
Attempts 4920 1 28
Comp % 62.00% *1 T-24
Pass yards 35,133 1 27
Pass TD 227 1 31
Interceptions 160 2 T-53
Yards per attempt 7.1 *5 T-68
Yards per game 229.6 *1 31
Wins 74 1 57
Game winning drives 28 1 T-20
Comebacks 23 1 T-19

*Rank among Bears only counts stats Cutler accumulated with Chicago

*Only counts players with minimum of 300 career pass attempts with Bears


Sources and info:

Featured Image: “Jason Witten” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/W/WittJa00.htm (Witten’s career stats)

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/rec_yds_career.htm (Cowboys career leaders in receiving)

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/pro_bowls_career.htm (Pro Bowls for all players)

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CutlJa00.htm (Cutler’s career stats)

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/chi/career-passing.htm (Bears career leaders in passing)

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/ (Career leaders for passing and receiving)

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi (Used to find comparisons for Witten and Cutler to other players)

Graphs made using Google Spreadsheets


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