Far, far, far too much emphasis is placed on athletic ability and how a guy looks in the uniform. Far, far too little emphasis is placed on actual performance on the field. You need to look at the pitch 'n catch statistics. You need to look at the relative importance of the tight end in the offense. When you do this, you come to some different conclusions.
Without question or controversy, Jason Witten is the most productive tight end in the NFL. He is also his QBs favorite receiver. He didn't become that favorite receiver because he was the QB's BFF. Rather he became Romo's BFF because he is Romo's favorite receiver. If you took Witten out of the Cowboy lineup it would be a mega-disaster for the firm. The Cowboys would never consider dealing Witten. Rather, they dealt Fasano, who is now a tremendous tight end for the Dolphins.
The Chiefs were okay with the notion of trading Gonzales to the Falcons. They executed that trade. Now what does that tell you about the situation? Nothing good.
Without question or controversy, Dallas Clark is the second best tight end in football. The only reason he doesn't out-produce Witten is because Manning has an arsenal of weapons to play with, and he believes in distributing the football evenly. I seriously doubt the Pollian would deal Clark. That would be a disaster.
Still, the Browns were okay with the idea of trading Kellen Winslow JR to the Bucs. They executed that trade. Now what does that tell you about the situation? Nothing good.
I would rather have a player like Chris Cooley than Jeremy Shockey. I would rather have Heath Miller than Antonio Gates.
Stop eyeballing at the guy's ass and start looking at the important plays he makes on the field.