Philadelphia Eagles: We need to talk about Dez Bryant

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

As the injuries keep piling up and Alshon Jeffery’s return date keeps moving back, is it finally time for the Philadelphia Eagles to talk about Dez Bryant?

For much of the summer I’ve firmly been in the ‘the Philadelphia Eagles don’t need to sign Dez Bryant‘ camp’.

As a lifetime fan of the birds in green, I’m all too familiar with the former Oklahoma State Cowboy‘s frequent outbursts, hostile interactions, and generally off-putting demeanor, and have taken great pride in knowing that the Eagles’ days of dealing with prima donna wide receivers all but ended in a shirtless impromptu driveway press conference back in 2005.

But at some point, Eagles fans, coaches, and general manager Howie Roseman alike have to look themselves in the eyes and ask one simple question: Can we afford not to at least kick the tire on Dez Bryant?

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It pains me to say it, but when news broke that Alshon Jeffery will miss at least the first two games of the 2018 NFL season, including a very challenging opening night bout against the Atlanta Falcons on their home turf, my mind, and presumably the minds of countless other fans in the Delaware Valley flashed visions of old number 88, went breezing past Bradley Fletcher like a mile marker on the Jersey Turnpike for an easy touchdown.

As the injuries continue to mount up this summer, the Eagles are dangerously thin at wide receiver (and linebacker, which you can read more about that here) and have yet to log a single snap with their presumed starting 11 formation of Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Jay Ajayi, and Zach Ertz on the field at the same time in practice.

Now granted, this string of injuries has opened the door for players like Shelton Gibson and a recently surging DeAndre Carter to make a serious push for a roster spot, but it’s also very much put the team’s initial offensive potency into question.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Eagles first-team offense has looked horrendous so far this preseason, with some overly zealous pundits like Shannon Sharpe going as far as to suggest that Nick Foles is once again showing his true colors as a below-average quarterback, and with the vast majority of the team starters projected to sit out the fourth preseason game, that chemistry isn’t going to build much before Week 1.

Needless to say, it’s entirely possible that the first Thursday night football game of the year could be UGLY.

But are the Eagles really that close to catastrophe that the team should consider bringing in a player like Dez Bryant less than 10 days before the start of the regular season?

You tell me?

Sure, Dez isn’t the player he once was when he recorded 1,320 yards on 88 catches back in 2013, but his 2017 stat line, 838 yards on 69 catches and six touchdowns still would have ranked first overall on the Philadelphia Eagles, ahead of Agholor, Ertz, and yes, even Jeffery.

This, when coupled with a very real drive to prove to Jerry Jones that he’s still among the elite receivers in the NFL, makes Bryant a variable powder keg of a player going into the 2018 season, one who could be utilized to make an offense red-hot, or burn a team to the ground from the inside out. As the proud owner of one of the league’s best locker room cultures, that may be a risk worth taking.

It is called the City of Brotherly Love after all.

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So even though it may not happen today, tomorrow, or even before Week 1 of the regular season, the Eagles should at the very least bring Bryant in for a workout and see where his head’s at going into the 2018 NFL season.

While he may not be able to use a magic pill to suddenly fix the team’s offensive woes, at least he’s healthy, and as fans unfortunately know all too well, another minor setback could lead to a month or even longer absence for the Eagles’ number one receiver.

Two weeks without Jeffery would be bad, but two months without Jeffery and no viable replacement would be an absolute nightmare.

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So, as you prepare to send me an angry tweet detailing why the Philadelphia Eagles shouldn’t give a roster spot to a proven locker room cancer regardless of the team’s health, answer me this: Who would you rather have catching passes from Nick Foles at Lincoln Financial Field come Week 1, DeAndre Carter or Dez Bryant? As much as it pains me to say, give me the latter every time.