Rico Gathers

Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Suspended One Game

Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been suspended for the first game of the 2019 season, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

The suspension was for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network pointed out in a tweet, the suspension stems from his 2018 arrest for marijuana possession. Gathers is battling for a roster spot right now, and this certainly won’t help his cause. Machota writes that Gathers is “currently the No. 4 TE on Dallas’ depth chart,” so his spot on the 53 seems tenuous at best.

The Cowboys currently have Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz ahead of him in the pecking order. A sixth round pick in 2016, Gathers has received some offseason hype in the past, but hasn’t done much in the regular season. Gathers is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, and is scheduled to make a base salary of only $570K, which could end up saving him.

There was talk last offseason that Gathers could play a big role for the Cowboys in the wake of Witten’s retirement, but he ended up serving mostly as a blocker. He was listed as starting four games, but ended up catching only three passes for 45 yards. A Baylor product, Gathers missed the entire 2017 season due to injury. He might not be the only Cowboy suspended this summer, as the league is reportedly investigating Ezekiel Elliott‘s latest situation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Jones, Lawrence, Gathers

As he enters his mid-seventies, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is slowly handing over control of the franchise to his son, Stephen Jones, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. The younger Jones is currently Dallas’ executive vice president, CEO, and director of player personnel, so he’s more than prepared to take on a larger role. Stephen Jones takes a more conservative financial stance than his father, per Moore, which could indicate the Cowboys will have their cap in better order when he eventually takes over. Notably, Stephen pushed the Cowboys to eschew drafting Johnny Manziel in 2014, and lobbied instead to select guard Zack Martin, a win for the club.

  • Free agent guard Xavier Su’a-Filo worked out for the Cowboys on Thursday, tweets Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. A former second-round pick Su’a-Filo spent four years with the Texans before inking a deal with the Titans earlier this year. He didn’t make it through final roster cuts, which is perhaps unsurprising given that he finished as a bottom-three guard in 2017, per Pro Football Focus. Dallas, though, needs depth along the interior of its offensive line given injuries to Zack Martin and Travis Frederick, so Su’a-Filo could be an option for the club.
  • Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is paying attention to the recent extensions signed by fellow defenders Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, and said his free agent price is rising correspondingly, per Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Lawrence will earn $17.143MM under the franchise tender in 2018, but has already said he’s not open to playing on the tag in 2019 (not that he’ll have much of a choice if the Cowboys opt to deploy it again). Now that both Donald and Mack have crossed the $22MM/year threshold, the sky is the limit for Lawrence, who will aim to build on an excellent 2018 campaign that included 14.5 sacks.
  • Further details have emerged regarding tight end Rico Gathers‘ recent arrest for marijuana, as Kate Hairopaulos of the Dallas Morning News details. Gathers was arrested after he and a female companion were discovered smoking in Central Park in Frisco, Texas, and police found 0.078 ounces of marijuana on the former collegiate basketball player. Gathers’ arrest became public on Saturday just prior to roster cutdowns, but Dallas decided to keep him around nevertheless. He could potentially serve a brief league-imposed suspension down the line.

Cowboys’ Rico Gathers Arrested

Rico Gathers hasn’t helped his case to make the Cowboys roster. The tight end was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana last night, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.

Police say they found Gathers in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. The 24-year-old was released from jail this morning after posting bond. Marijuana possession is a violation in Texas (where Gathers was arrested), and he could be subject to the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Despite not having played football since the eighth grade, the Cowboys selected the 6-foot-8 Gathers in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. The Baylor basketball player has the athleticism to play football, but he hasn’t been able to put it together during his tenure in Dallas. The tight end has yet to appear in an NFL regular season game.

Gathers was already going to have a tough time making the Cowboys roster. He hauled in 10 passes during the preseason, but he was still listed behind behind Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and rookie Dalton Schultz on the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Witten To Return In 2018

Following the Cowboys’ 6-0 win over the Eagles on Sunday, tight end Jason Witten announced he would return for his 16th season in 2018, ESPN’s Todd Archer reports. Jason Witten (vertical)

Witten was expected to return but left open the possibility of retiring in recent weeks. “I’m coming back. I love playing this game too much and I know that I can play it at a high level,” he said. After the University of Tennessee fired its head coach in 2017, Witten’s name appeared in coaching rumors but the tight end quickly shot down the reports.

Archer notes that Witten will become the longest-tenured member of the Cowboys in franchise history, surpassing Mark Tuinei, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Bill Bates who each played 15 seasons.

Witten is signed through the 2021 season after signing a four-year extension in March. However, he has contemplated retirement each of the last two seasons. He finished the season with 63 receptions for his 14th consecutive 60-catch season.

Behind Witten on the depth chart, the Cowboys do have a promising talent in Rico Gathers, who played basketball at Baylor before being selected by Dallas in the 2016 NFL Draft. Gathers was placed on the practice squad in 2016, and enjoyed a breakout preseason in 2017 but was placed on injured reserve with a concussion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Gathers, Redskins

Here’s a look at the NFC East:

  • Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers still has yet to return to practice and may not return from IR as initially planned, Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News writes. Gathers is still recovering from a head injury and concussion he suffered in mid-August following a helmet-to-helmet collision. Unfortunately, he has still not been cleared to practice and that’s not a good sign for his chances to play this year. In the preseason, Gathers turned some heads by catching seven passes for 106 yards and two scores.
  • Former Chiefs and Falcons defensive end Tyson Jackson will work out for the Redskins on Wednesday afternoon, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Redskins have been looking into front four depth as of late – they also tried out Jaye Howard and Cam Thomas in late October.
  • If signed, Jackson could help to fill in for Redskins defensive lineman Arthur Jones after he dislocated his shoulder. He “could miss time,” coach Jay Gruden says (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s John Keim). Wide receiver Brian Quick, meanwhile, is in the concussion protocol.

Cowboys Place Rico Gathers On IR

The Cowboys are placing tight end Rico Gathers on injured reserve, the team announced today. That will open up a roster spot that could be filled by the recently-released Kellen Moore, coach Jason Garrett tells reporters. Rico Gathers (vertical)

Moore was discarded prior to the initial 53-man cutdown in a move that left undrafted free agent Cooper Rush as the team’s No. 2 quarterback behind Dak Prescott. Nothing is definite yet, but it sounds like Moore could return to the roster to serve as the third stringer, or possibly the second stringer, behind Prescott for the season opener against the Giants.

The shuffling of QBs doesn’t make much sense on the surface, but the Cowboys likely felt that they would lose Rush if they exposed him to waivers. Moore, who they like for their offense, probably is not viewed as favorably league-wide.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cousins, Foles, Cowboys

The record-setting contract extension the Lions awarded quarterback Matthew Stafford on Monday will raise Redskins signal-caller Kirk Cousins‘ asking price and make it even more difficult for the team to re-sign him at season’s end, Mike Jones of the Washington Post points out. With Cousins scheduled to hit free agency next winter, the Redskins could place the franchise tag on him for a third straight year if there’s no deal in place prior to free agency, but that would mean guaranteeing him upward of $34MM. Jones expects the Redskins to apply the transition tag for a lesser cost – $28MM – and ultimately lose Cousins to a team willing to give him a massive long-term deal. The Redskins wouldn’t be entitled to any compensation in that scenario.

More from the NFC East:

  • Eagles quarterback Nick Foles hasn’t taken the field this preseason because of an elbow injury. Specifically, Foles has a flexor strain and inflammation around a nerve in his right elbow, a source told Les Bowen of Philly.com. While the source indicated that Foles had the same problem during his time with the Chiefs last year, it won’t affect his place on the Eagles’ roster or his regular-season availability, Bowen notes. The plan remains for him to back up Carson Wentz beginning in Week 1.
  • Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been dealing with a concussion for two weeks and could head to injured reserve as a result, Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. An IR placement for Gathers would keep him out of game action for at least the first eight weeks of the season and deprive Dallas of a burgeoning weapon. The former Baylor basketball player and 2016 sixth-round pick was a shoo-in to make the Cowboys’ 53-man roster prior to his injury, Davison relays. Gathers’ absence would leave the Cowboys with the experienced James Hanna as their No. 2 tight end behind Jason Witten, though he’s coming off a season lost to injuries and isn’t a receiving threat.
  • Owner Jerry Jones says that Jaylon Smith will have an “accelerated approach” towards the upcoming season (Twitter link via Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram). That’s a departure in philosophy from before, when Jones said the team would be deliberate in its approach with the Notre Dame product.
  • Tight end Will Tye, defensive ends Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara, wide receiver Dwayne Harris, kicker Aldrick Rosas and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker aren’t sure bets to make the Giants’ roster and could be on the block, James Kratch of NJ.com observes. Although, given that trades in the NFL are rare and nobody from that group holds much appeal, Kratch doesn’t expect Big Blue to make any deals in the coming days.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Bucs, Norwell, Cowboys

Buccaneers nickel corner Jude Adjei-Barimah will have surgery to repair the patellar fracture in his right knee and will be placed on IR, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. When we first learned of the injury, we heard that it could sideline Adjei-Barimah for roughly four months, meaning he would miss most of the 2017 campaign. Stroud’s report suggests that the 25-year-old DB will in fact miss the entire season.

In other bad news for the Bucs, linebacker Devante Bond, who was expected to open the season as the starting strongside linebacker, has a sprained PCL in his right knee, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Bond could still be ready for Week 1, but it may be four to six weeks before he plays again. Meanwhile, Laine adds that QB Ryan Griffin has a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder that will take a few weeks to heal. The team is not expected to sign another quarterback, which means that Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely win the backup job.

Now let’s take a look at a few more NFC rumors:

  • Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com tweets that the Buccaneers are expected to bring in another kicker in the wake of Roberto Aguayo‘s dismissal, but the new signing will be used for camp/preseason reps. That suggests that Nick Folk, and not a new acquisition, will be the team’s starting kicker.
  • Panthers guard Andrew Norwell is playing under a one-year RFA tender worth $2.75MM this year, but he hopes to get a long-term deal before the end of the season, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Norwell graded out as the league’s No. 11 guard in 2016, per Pro Football Focus, and has started 29 games over the past two seasons, firmly entrenching himself at left guard opposite Trai Turner. Turner, of course, recently received a lucrative extension from Carolina, and Norwell wants in on the action. He has even hired Turner’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to help him get paid.
  • Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot has until Wednesday to appeal his six-game suspension, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Elliott will likely file the necessary paperwork on Tuesday.
  • Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers was hugely impressive in Dallas’ preseason game against the Rams last night, posting four catches and a touchdown. That builds upon the solid showing he had in the team’s first preseason matchup last week, and it is clear that he is the most explosive tight end on the roster. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Gathers has come a long way in a short time — the Cowboys selected Gathers, a collegiate basketball player, in the sixth round of the 2016 draft — and makes the fairly obvious point that Gathers has a legitimate shot to make the team.
  • The Redskins are very thin at outside linebacker following Trent Murphy‘s season-ending ACL tear, so they are moving ILB Pete Robertson outside to give themselves another pass-rusher, as Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post writes. Robertson, a UDFA in 2016 who has yet to play a regular season snap, did lead the Big 12 with 13 sacks as an outside linebacker for Texas Tech in 2014.

NFC East: Giants, Rosas, Cowboys, Eagles

The fact that Aldrick Rosas is the only kicker on the Giants roster is an indication that the organization is willing to roll with the 22-year-old next season. Despite the former undrafted free agent having no NFL experience, special teams coordinator Tom Quinn is confident that his kicker will be prepared.

“We will try and simulate (games for) him and then you have the preseason to go with that,” Quinn told Ralph Vacchiano SNY.tv. “We’ve had a couple of nice young kickers in here with (Chris) Boswell (in 2015) and Brandon McManus (in 2014). They’ve gone on to do well. It’s not always perfect with the young guys. Sometimes there’s going to be a little bit of hiccups. We’ll see where we go with that.”

As Vacchiano points out, the Giants could easily sign a veteran free agent kicker to compete with Rosas. The team also has Travis Coons participating at the rookie minicamp this weekend. Quinn noted that with “no more two-a-days and limited practice,” the team would struggle to find “kicks” for multiple players.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFC East…

  • The Giants gave undrafted offensive lineman Chad Wheeler a $20,000 signing bonus, the highest among the team’s undrafted rookies. The Giants also have a need for an offensive tackle, which is why Dan Duggan of NJ.com believes Wheeler has a shot of making the team. The writer also lists defensive tackle Jarron Jones, offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker, wideout Travis Rudolph, linebacker Calvin Munson, cornerback Nigel Tribune, fullback Shane Smith, and safety Jadar Johnson among undrafted rooks who might have a shot at making the final roster.
  • Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers earned an incredible $499,990 to play on the team’s practice squad last season. With Jason Witten‘s career winding down, the former sixth-round pick will have an opportunity to play a significant role in the team’s offense this season. “It’s night and day for [Gathers] in a good way from last year,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told Matthew Martinez of the Star-Telegram. “When you know what you’re doing and you’ve got your body in football shape, it’s amazing what you can do, and that’s the biggest difference from where he was a year ago until now.”
  • We learned yesterday that the Eagles agreed to pay second-round cornerback Sidney Jones his full 2017 base salary even if he spends the season on the NFI list.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/17/17

Today’s minor moves:


Atlanta Falcons

Practice Squad

Green Bay Packers

Reserve/Futures Contracts

Atlanta Falcons

Dallas Cowboys

  • TE Rico Gathers
  • WR Andy Jones

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

  • WR Rashad Lawrence