Witten, Heath, Maliek Collins join Raiders as Cowboys defections mount

  • Witten, Heath, Maliek Collins join Raiders as Cowboys defections mount

Witten, Heath, Maliek Collins join Raiders as Cowboys defections mount

Free agency hasn't even started yet but the 2019 defensive unit has already been stripped of several key players, including both Maliek Collins and Jeff Heath, who have now agreed to join the Raiders. Tight end Jason Witten will be signing with the Las Vegas Raiders, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review Journal (Twitter link).

He will be joined in Las Vegas by Cowboys teammates Jeff Heath and Maliek Collins and former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

While the Cowboys said goodbye to Witten, they did bring back one ageless veteran in linebacker Sean Lee.

It's a one-year deal that can be worth up to $4.75MM, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets.

Witten came out of retirement to return to Dallas past year, racking up 63 passes for 529 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

Lee played a full 16-game season for the first time in his career in 2019, starting 13, including seven in place of an injured Leigton Vander Esch at weakside linebacker. He holds the Cowboys' franchise records for catches (1,215) and receiving yards (12,977), and he's second in touchdown receptions (72).

Late last season, Witten, who will turn 38 in May, said he would like to coach someday, but he also wanted to get every ounce of a playing career before moving to the sideline.

For all practical purposes, Jason Witten's tenure with the Dallas Cowboys ended when he was not offered the job as lead tight ends coach under new head coach Mike McCarthy.

With Joseph a free agent this offseason, the signing of Heath will help the Raiders if Joseph signs elsewhere. In that time, the 28-year-old compiled 219 total tackles, 17 passes defended, 11 tackles for a loss, and four interceptions.

Collins, 24, had 20 tackles and four sacks a year ago and spent four campaigns with the Cowboys.