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Free-agency series: Tight ends

3/11/2013

The finale of a 10-part series breaking down the Cowboys' free-agency needs, position by position:

Tight ends

Who’s on the roster: Colin Cochart, James Hanna, Andre Smith and Jason Witten

Analysis: Witten, after a slow start in 2012, proved once again that he's an elite tight end. It's still a mystery as to why he doesn't get enough touches in the red zone. But Witten continues to be a prime target and safety net for quarterback Tony Romo. There were times last season where Witten seemed unstoppable. Hanna is a solid pass-catching tight end who moves up the depth chart in 2013. Hanna has impressed the coaches with his route running and catching ability. It won't happen for a few years, but Hanna appears to be the future at this position.

NFL free agents of interest: John Phillips, Anthony Fasano, Dustin Keller and Travis Beckum.

Need meter: 6. The Cowboys miss Martellus Bennett, who was a solid blocking tight end. And while Bennett is a free agent this spring, he won't be looking to return to Dallas. The team should get a veteran who can block well and isn't worried about getting touches on a regular basis. Fasano possibly? He was a Cowboys draft pick who was traded to Miami. If the Cowboys decide to address the position in the draft, that's fine too, but finding someone who can block well on a consistent basis is very important.