Gavin Escobar’s long return to the playing field begins Tuesday. He will undergo surgery to repair his right Achilles’ tendon.
Escobar played only 10 offensive plays Saturday night, limping off late in the loss to the New York Jets.
The Cowboys will place him on season-ending injured reserve, and he will miss all of the off-season program while rehabbing.
“We have had good track record with some guys [with Achilles’ injuries],” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He will do some rehab and get himself right. He’s a young man. He will heal quickly.”
Escobar, a second-round pick in 2013, finished with eight catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, his worst season statistically. He played only 231 of 891 offensive snaps this season.
“I think the biggest thing we try to do is evaluate what the players have done with the opportunities they’ve gotten,” Garrett said. “For different reasons, over the course of Gavin’s career up to this point, he’s only gotten a certain amount of opportunities and typically he’s taken advantage of those, mostly as a pass receiver. He runs his routes. He typically wins and when we throw him the ball, he typically makes the play on it.
“Has he had a huge impact? He hasn’t. But when we’ve given him chances he has. He has to improve as an all-around tight end. His ability to block, we knew that when we drafted him. But when you play [Jason] Witten as much as we play him, and we feel like James Hanna brings some things to the position that might be able to help our team more than Gavin. Those guys get some of those opportunities. But when he’s had chances, he’s typically taken advantage of them.”
In his career, Escobar has 26 receptions for 303 yards and seven touchdowns.
Geoff Swaim, a seventh-round pick from Texas, will replace Escobar as the third tight end. Swaim has been active for only two games this season, playing 16 offensive snaps.
“He’s a young tight end,” Garrett said. “But he has a lot of different traits that make you feel like he could be a complete tight end. He did a good job blocking in training camp and showed he could run routes and catch the ball. He plays with a physicalness and aggressiveness, so it’ll be a good opportunity for him to get out there and play and be a part of this.”