What Jason Witten will earn from Cowboys after leaving ESPN broadcast booth
All-Pro tight end Jason Witten could end up with a pay bump after announcing he would return to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys after a year in the announcing booth for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
In a shocking move, Witten agreed to return to the Cowboys on a one-year contract with a base salary of $3.5 million and a max value of $5, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. The 37-year-old’s four-year contract with ESPN, signed just one year ago, paid him an annual salary between $4 million and $4.5 million.
"The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong," Witten said in a statement. "This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I'm looking forward to getting back in the dirt."
Witten had a rough transition to the broadcast booth, earning a mixed reaction from fans throughout his tenure as a color commentator on “Monday Night Football.” However, he downplayed the possibility that he could return to playing football as recently as this month.
An 11-time Pro Bowl selection, Witten owns several Cowboys franchise records, including most receptions and receiving yards. He earned more than $72 million before retiring prior to the 2018 NFL season, according to Spotrac.
It’s unclear who will replace Witten on “Monday Night Football.” He appeared alongside play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore and sideline reporter Anthony “Booger” McFarland.
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“We thank Jason for his many contributions to Monday Night Football and to ESPN over the past year and wish him continued success,” ESPN said in a statement. “We have seen many former coaches and players go into broadcasting before eventually returning to the game they love, so we understand Jason’s desire to return to the Dallas Cowboys. In the coming weeks we will determine our MNF plans for the 2019 season.”