Bell served as a reserve tight end for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs last season. While he might be taking the roster spot of Witten, he almost certainly won’t be expected to put up the same kind of numbers.
Cowboys beat reporter Clarence Hill Jr. posted on Twitter that Bell is considered a blocking tight end. His numbers over his career back that up. Bell is entering his sixth year in the NFL and will already be playing for his fifth team.
He started his career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015. He appeared in 14 games that season and got five starts. During his rookie campaign, he notched career highs in receptions and yards and by a wide margin for both. He had 15 grabs for 186 yards that year.
Bell has continued to be a solid contributor off the bench for most of his career, but he isn’t someone who is going to get a lot of passes his way. Over the course of his career, he has 38 catches for 424 yards. He has not managed to score a touchdown yet.
Last season, with the Chiefs, Bell played in 15 games and started seven as the blocking alternative to Travis Kelce’s receiving tight end. In those 15 games, he logged just eight catches and 67 yards.
For the Dallas Cowboys, it doesn’t appear as if his production will improve all that much. Last season, the team relied on two pass-catching tight ends but that could be changing with the signing of Bell.
Witten actually led the position group in 2019 with 63 catches and 529 yards. He’s taking that production with him to Las Vegas now. In his place, those around Dallas have said Blake Jarwin is expected to step up and become the primary target.
Jarwin will be entering his third season with the Cowboys and has seen his offensive production tick up both years in the league. He hauled down 31 catches for 365 yards and three touchdowns a season ago. The signing of Blake Bell isn’t one that is going to grab a ton of headlines, but it does show that new Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy is continuing to put his stamp on the team’s offensive gameplan in 2020.
Earlier in the offseason, there had been talk the Cowboys might bring Witten back, should he be willing to accept a pay cut. With Bell, the team is signaling the offense will look different from last year for sure.