The Dallas Cowboys and their fans have already seen a seasons worth of disappointment through their first five games of the 2017 season. There seems to be a cloud of negativity surrounding this year's squad, so any good news is definitely a welcomed addition. That is why all of Cowboys Nation might be excited to learn that tight end Rico Gathers is eligible to return to practice.
According to NFL rules, teams are able to designate two different players they have placed on injured reserve and bring them back during the season. Rico Gathers is a prime candidate to be one of these players for the Cowboys and is eligible to start practicing with the team after missing six weeks of the season. But, he cannot be added to the active roster until after Week 8 is completed.
With the NFL season entering Week 7, Gathers can now get back on the practice field with the Cowboys. In fact, he did just that Wednesday, although in a limited fashion.
Rico Gathers has returned to working with Cowboys athletic trainers
This is certainly a step in the right direction for Rico Gathers, and quite possibly the Dallas Cowboys as well. Gathers now has two more weeks to get back into football shape and prove to the coaching staff he is worth adding to the active roster.
The Cowboys offense hasn't been terrible by any means, but they could definitely use more production from the tight end position. Future Hall of Famer Jason Witten leads the team in receptions with 27, but is only averaging a measly 8.5 yards per reception. James Hanna and Geoff Swaim have just one reception between the two of them, although it did result in Hanna standing alone in the end zone.
Rico Gathers could possibly add a much needed spark to the tight end position if activated. He looked really impressive during the Cowboys first two preseason games, catching seven passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, his preseason was cut short due to the previous mentioned concussion.
Now, as much as I would like to see Gathers added to the active roster, I just don't know where he would fit in the offensive game plan. All three TEs ahead of him on the depth chart are more reliable/prepared at this point in their careers, but none of them have his playmaking ability.
Would the Cowboys be willing to keep four tight ends on the active roster and how many would they have available on game days? Who would be the odd man out? These are questions the Cowboys coaching staff will have to answer before making such a big decision.
Roster spots become more and more valuable as the season progresses. Carrying four TEs on the roster may be a luxury they can't afford. But, if they believe Rico Gathers can be another offensive weapon and perhaps a difference maker, it's an easy decision.
Gathers is after all 6'8″ and a mismatch for any defensive back to cover anywhere on the field, especially in the red zone. He still needs work with his blocking, but adding yet another weapon in the passing game for Dak Prescott could help the entire offense be even more dangerous.
I'm personally torn on whether or not Rico Gathers should be added to the active roster. Thankfully, I'm not the one that has to make the decision.
What kind of offensive role do you think Rico Gathers can have with the Dallas Cowboys? Let me hear your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter @BrianMartinNFL.