Once a Cowboy, always a Cowboy. That appears to be the way that NFL tight end Blake Jarwin has chosen to live life in football. The Dallas Cowboys made Jarwin a rich man on Monday and he put some of signing bonus to work to help out the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Unfortunately, Jarwin’s gesture was swallowed up in the tsunami of big-money free-agent moves and franchise tagging that took place on a day in which the rest of the country was once again deeply affected by fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Blake Jarwin signs a sweet Dallas Cowboys deal, pays it forward
The tight end position certainly hasn’t disappeared from the pro passing game, but it’s indisputable that wide receivers are generally the first and second options in the quarterback’s progression on passing downs. With pass interference and holding rules interpretations stacked against defenses, throwing downfield early and often has become the chosen method of attack.
In that context, Blake Jarwin’s 58 receptions in 33 NFL games, half of which have been played in the shadow of Jason Witten, since being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State look pretty good. He’s scored six touchdowns, averaged 11.6 yards a catch, and picked up first downs on an impressive 36 of those 58 receptions.
In short, he makes for a nice security blanket for quarterback Dak Prescott, one more reason why he could have been attractive to another team as a restricted free agent. But the Dallas Cowboys recognized what they had in Jarwin, 25, and re-signed him to a three-year, $24.2 million contract Monday, with at least $9 million reportedly guaranteed.
So, what was Jarwin’s first financial decision after agreeing to the deal? He announced on Instagram that he has pledged a portion of his signing bonus to Oklahoma State to assist the university in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
This isn’t the first time the NFL has looked insensitive
Blake Jarwin’s donation to his alma mater may have made a ripple in the reporting out Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Monday but was likely scarcely noticed elsewhere. Even in Dallas, the development was a distant third behind the Cowboys applying the franchise tag to Dak Prescott and agreeing to a huge deal with receiver Amari Cooper.
By the time the week is over, NFL teams and free-agent players will have agreed to multi-year deals with a total value well over a billion dollars – all at a moment in time when the rest of the country is being rocked by news related to the coronavirus outbreak.
It’s fair to ask whether the NFL realizes that it appears tone-deaf, save for the classy move by Jarwin and maybe a few others that have gone largely unnoticed. With virtually everything else in sports shut down, the NFL celebrated its new collective bargaining agreement and proceeded to spike the football by carrying on with business as usual.
It’s not the first time the league has been guilty of bad optics during a time when the country was reeling. Commissioner Pete Rozelle infamously decided to play NFL games as scheduled on the Sunday following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Rozelle would later acknowledge that it was a terrible decision on his part.
NBA, NHL owners have taken the lead when it comes to reaching out
While NFL owners have been on a spending spree directed at players, owners in other sports have been looking out for the little guys like the many part-time area employees facing the prospect of no paychecks
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the first to reassure workers that they wouldn’t be left without paychecks.
In Chicago, owners Rocky Wirtz of the Blackhawks and Jerry Reinsdorf of the Bulls, part-owners of the United Center, committed $3.5 million to cover lost wages for arena staff. TheAthletic.com reported that the Los Angeles Clippers, Kings, and Lakers, as well as Staples Center, created a fund to assist approximately 2,800 staffers.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was one of the first players to step up, donating $100,000. Multiple other NBA players have also announced donations.