The Philadelphia Eagles placed Andre Dillard on the injured reserve list (actually called “reserve/injured” but no one really refers to it like that) on Tuesday afternoon, according to an official team announcement.
This development was expected. News of Dillard suffering a broken forearm during Eagles practice first emerged late last week. The recovery timeline for Dillard’s injury came into focus on Monday when NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported he’ll miss four-to-six weeks.
By going to IR, Dillard is automatically ineligible to play until Week 5 at the earliest. In the best case scenario, he’ll return in time for the Eagles’ road game against the Arizona Cardinals. If the six week timeline holds, he might not be back until after Philly’s Week 7 bye.
Losing Dillard is hardly a death knell for the Eagles considering he might not even be needed to play. If Jordan Mailata stays healthy, they’re totally fine.
Of course, there could be a scenario where Lane Johnson gets hurt and the Eagles ideally want to shift Mailata over to right tackle with Dillard playing on the left side. As opposed to just putting Jack Driscoll in for Johnson. And now such an option won’t be available to them for a bit.
Dillard going on IR opens up a roster spot for the Eagles to work with. One option is for them to move Le’Raven Clark up from the practice squad by signing him to the roster. Of course, doing so would guarantee his salary for the season given that he’s a vested veteran. The Birds might not want to do that. For the same financial reasons, they might not want to use one of two practice squad elevations for Week 1 on Clark. Then again, the offensive line isn’t really a place to cheap out.
If Clark isn’t Mailata’s backup in Week 1, it’ll be ... Josh Sills? The undrafted rookie free agent took some left tackle reps in training camp. Driscoll is the only other contender and he lacks extensive experience at that position.
While the Dillard injury is unfortunate, the Eagles are pretty healthy otherwise. I’m confident they would sign up for their current situation if they were able to do so prior to training camp.