If you are a Dallas Cowboys fan, you have a ton of reasons to be excited for the 2017 NFL season. Jason Garrett’s team looks to defend their NFC East title, Dak Prescott will do nothing but improve during his sophomore season, Jaylon Smith will be on the field and… well, you get the idea.
Among all of these reasons to be excited, the possibility of Tight End Rico Gathers making the roster is one of the main ones. After spending all of 2016 with the practice squad and after impressing in the first two preseason games this year, the former basketball player seemed to have locked a roster spot.
Unfortunately, things have changed for Gathers. Since he suffered a concussion in practice prior to the Indianapolis Colts game, we haven’t seen anything from him. This sure sounds like the concussion is more serious than originally thought by Cowboys Nation.
Two weeks later, as the Cowboys get ready to face the Houston Texans for the last game of the Cowboys’ preseason, Rico won’t be practicing or playing.
This means that more likely than not, Rico Gathers won’t be making the 53 man roster to start the season.
What Does This Mean for the Team?
So what if the Cowboys decide to not use a roster spot on him? Does this mean he will be cut? Will the Cowboys ship him back to the practice squad? Is the Rico Gathers era over without even beginning? No, of course not.
TE Rico Gathers remains in concussion protocol. Won’t practice or play this week. Opening season on IR a possibility.
If Rico Gathers doesn’t make the roster, opening the season on Injured Reserve is not out of the question. This would naturally mean he won’t be able to practice with the team during the first six weeks of the season and he will be out for the first eight weeks, at least.
The Cowboys will already use an IR spot on recently injured Anthony Hitchens but NFL teams are allowed to designate two players for return. Rico may join Hitchens in this category if he is sent to IR, and we just might get to see him play as the Cowboys try to run for a Super Bowl title.
This is not what you want when the project your team has been working for more than a year looks to be ready. But this situation would actually have a positive aspect to it.
This roster is so deep that making the final cuts will not be easy for the organization. Players like Lenny Jones, Lewis Neal, Noah Brown, Andy Jones, Duke Thomas and more are all fighting for a place on the team and some of them might get a chance with Gathers’ spot up for grabs. Specially if the Cowboys decide to keep both Cooper Rush and Kellen Moore.
These young players are not the only thing the Cowboys have to keep in mind, but rather how many tight ends will they carry?
Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they go with just three. Jason Witten, Geoff Swaim and James Hanna will probably be the three guys the Cowboys open the season with and they are not a bad group at all. Don’t forget that Swaim was playing very good before going down injured last season. The roster is so deep, these questions are harder than usual.
The Rico Gathers story continues to be an intriguing one, and it will probably remain that way for some time.
As for now, here at Inside The Star, we wish Rico a quick recovery and hope to see him on the field wearing the Star soon.