Any NFL fan knows that Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has caught a lot of passes, but many may not realize just how high on the all-time career catches list Witten is.
In fact, within the first couple games of the regular season, Witten is likely to be the No. 4 receiver in NFL history.
Witten currently ranks seventh, with 1,089 career catches. But he’s only 14 catches away from passing three Hall of Famers: No. 6 Tim Brown (who has 1,094 catches), No. 5 Cris Carter (1,101) and No. 4 Marvin Harrison (1,102). If Witten catches passes this season at the same rate he did last season, he’ll move ahead of Harrison and into fourth place all time in Week Four.
Moving into third place is likely out of reach for Witten this year, and possibly out of reach for him ever: Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald is currently No. 3 with 1,125 catches, so Witten needs 37 more catches than Fitzgerald to move into third place all time. Given that Fitzgerald is younger than Witten, and that Fitzgerald led the NFL with 107 catches last season, it’s unlikely that Witten will surpass Fitzgerald’s total.
Witten is probably three or four seasons away from surpassing Tony Gonzalez, the No. 2 all-time receiver and the all-time leader among tight ends, with 1,325. Whether Witten plays long enough to top Gonzalez’s total remains to be seen.
Jerry Rice’s all-time record of 1,549 catches appears safe for many more years.