The Philadelphia Eagles are experiencing a crisis at the wide receiver spot.
With Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor injured, head coach Doug Pederson was forced to roll out a pass-catching group consisting of JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins, and Greg Ward for Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
It immediately put struggling quarterback Carson Wentz in a difficult position — playing a stout Seahawks defense with a bunch of cast-offs on the outside.
The results were exactly what was expected. Wentz threw for 256 yards — averaging just 7.7 yards per completion — with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Twelve of his 33 completions were to tight end Zach Ertz and another seven were to his backup, Dallas Goedert.
Ward — who was a practice-squad call-up on Saturday — led all Eagles wide receivers with six catches.
The Eagles didn’t waste much time tweaking things up. They cut Matthews on Monday to bring his third stint with the organization to an end after two weeks.
It suggests that Agholor and Jeffery could be good to go for Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, as Pederson admitted both players were “trending” in the right direction.
Jeffery has been out since Week 9 with an ankle issue while Agholor was sidelined last week because of his knee.
Even with them in the lineup, the Eagles haven’t been able to replicate the kind of offensive output experienced with DeSean Jackson in the mix.
The veteran deep threat hauled in a pair of 50-plus-yard touchdowns in Week 1, helping Wentz put up a season-high 313 yards against the Washington Redskins.
Since his abdominal injury, though, Wentz has eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark just once.
Wentz’s 230 yards per game this season ranks 22nd in the NFL, which isn’t nearly the type of production the Eagles expected when they signed him to a four-year extension.
While he hasn’t been the transcendental playmaker that he once was during his first two seasons, the lack of legitimate wide receivers that could go out and come up big in important situations.
It will lead the Eagles to scour the free-agent market and draft board this upcoming offseason, but desperation to make the playoffs now could force GM Howie Roseman to try and find a temporary solution.
Amongst available free-agent receivers, former Cowboys standout Dez Bryant could be an option as the third receiver behind a healthy Jeffery and Agholor.
Per reports, Bryant was expected to begin contacting NFL teams about a comeback this week after recovering from a torn ACL that ended his stint with the New Orleans Saints before it even began.
Bryant hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2017 season when he posted 838 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games with Dallas.
While he built a reputation as a brass, top-line receiver over his eight-year career, he knows the kind of role he’ll assume down the stretch in 2019.
“I’m not trying to go nowhere and be a starter on a team,” Bryant wrote earlier this month on Twitter. “I want to contribute because I know I will be able too… I’m feeling good.”
Taking a chance on Bryant could be a low-risk, high-reward scenario for an Eagles team desperate for help on the outside for Wentz.
A veteran with big-play capabilities — even if they’re slowed down — would only open up more opportunities for Wentz moving forward.
Offer Bryant the extra motivation of catching his former team for the top spot in the NFC East and Wentz’s offense could open up with a bona fide third option amongst his wide receivers.