The smoke hasn't cleared on Jason Witten's retirement, but with all due respect to the Hall of Famer, it's already time to move on.

With a tight end being selected in the Dallas Cowboys draft last weekend, there are now four tight ends on the roster heading into 2018.

The first three are rookie Dalton Shultz, the Longhorn Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin. They're capable and will see snaps this season without a doubt, but are any of them difference makers? All three of those tight ends will be limited pass catchers, but will excel in blocking for a top five rushing offense next year.

The fourth tight end on the roster is the most intriguing. His name is Rico Gathers.

Gathers was a basketball player at Baylor, but spurned the NBA for the NFL in a shocking decision after leaving the Big 12 as the most prolific rebounder of all-time. He stands at 6'6" and weighs 285, and coming into his third year in the league he's only 24 years old.

Gathers has shown flashes in the preseason, but has been hindered by injuries and the fact that he's had to learn a brand new position at the highest level possible.

That's why the Dallas Cowboys should sign 38-year-old Antonio Gates to a one-year contract so he can mentor Rico Gathers and be a stopgap between the past and the future. Gates played college basketball at Kent State before heading to the NFL because he was too short to play forward in the NBA.

Gates capitalized on the NFL opportunity and has turned in a Hall of Fame career and , with the most touchdown catches as a tight end in NFL history.

Antonio Gates has already taken a stab at mentoring Gathers back in 2016 before the NFL Draft that Gathers was selected in. TMZ caught up with Gates and asked if he had any advice.

Even if Antonio Gates couldn't play a down for the Cowboys, he could provide incredible insight for not only Rico Gathers, but the entire tight end room, which is being hailed as one of the worst in the NFL since the departure of Jason Witten.

Gathers could very well be the next Antonio Gates, and one way to ensure that is to get the man himself in Dallas -- even if it's just for training camp -- so Gates can impart some inside knowledge to the future.

The NEXT Antonio Gates needs to be mentored by the ACTUAL Antonio Gates.

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