Rico Gathers gaining weight, hopes to gain some playing time in Dallas

eagles_084When the Cowboys spent a sixth-round draft pick on Rico Gathers in 2016, they knew it would take a while for him to develop: Gathers, who played basketball at Baylor, hadn’t played football since middle school.

But after two NFL seasons and zero regular-season games played, it’s time for Gathers to finally show what he can do on the field. Toward that end, Gathers said he is gaining weight to get into the 280-285 range, significantly bigger than the 265 he weighed in at a year ago, when he said he like he was getting pushed around too much in the preseason.

He’s a different player now than he was a couple of years ago when he first showed up, Garrett said. But he just needs to play more football.

Gathers isn’t the tight end who will make people forget Jason Witten, but he’s hoping that he can at least get on the field at a position where the Cowboys are now trying to replace one of the best ever to play it.

The 25-year-old Williams played every snap last season and has become a very important cog in the Panthers’ offense. If Carolina can’t get a deal done with him and he has another strong season in 2018, the Panthers would likely put the franchise tag on him, which would guarantee him a 2019 salary in the $15 million range.

Teoscar Hernandez (R), 38 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays (Undecided): Hernandez has quietly picked up where his strong September left off. He’s handled both righties and lefties en route to an .839 OPS with 10 homers and three stolen bases. He has a near-even home-run split, with six against righties and four against lefties, so a multi-pitcher bullpen game from the Rays shouldn’t be a major issue for Hernandez.