In the world of tight ends, Tony Gonzalez is arguably the best tight end that has ever played the position. The heavily decorated Gonzalez has all the accolades a player could ever want (outside a Super Bowl ring), including the most receptions by a tight end in NFL history.
Gonzalez finally called it a career after 17 seasons, racking up 1,325 receptions, and averaging 78 catches a year. Those are impressive numbers. With that being said, one has to wonder if Jason Witten can catch Tony Gonzalez?
Witten moved into the #2 in receptions overall by a tight end this past season when he passed Shannon Sharpe. Witten finished the 2013 with 73 catches and currently has 879 total receptions.
Witten is entering his 12th season in the league and is 446 from tying Gonzalez’s record. So can Witten break the record? Let’s break down the numbers.
Witten is averaging about 80 receptions a year. So, he would need 6 more season’s of that average to shatter the record. That would put him at 38 years old during the 2019 season.
Witten is signed through the 2017 season and a free agent in 2018.
Like Gonzalez, Witten has been the prototypical and durable type player that can play beyond his years if he wanted to. If Witten stays on the same pace numbers-wise and health-wise, then he’ll break Gonzalez’s record. Biggest question will be whether or not he envision’s himself playing those many years.
For me, I’d like to see Witten get a Super Bowl or more between now and then, that would cement his name in football lore. But if Witten can catch Gonzales that would be a nice feather in his hat.