Let's make this very clear: The Eagles acquired wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham knowing full well his history on and off the field. They understand the very public comments made about him questioning his work ethic and they did the deal that sent offensive lineman Dennis Kelly to Tennessee with their "eyes open," said Howie Roseman on Tuesday.
"We've spent a lot of time here in the last few weeks behind the scenes doing some background work. He comes in with an opportunity. No promises have been made and we felt comfortable at this time to bring him in here with an opportunity to compete," Roseman said.
Tennessee, loaded at wide receiver, felt it could move the ultra-talented Green-Beckham, the 40th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Eagles parted ways with Kelly because they like the way some of their young offensive linemen are developing. Roseman and Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson worked together on a trade in the spring when the Eagles dealt running back DeMarco Murray to the Titans for a swap of fourth-round draft picks, giving the Eagles some extra space within the salary cap and improved draft positioning to further move up in the first-round of the draft.
It all came together on Tuesday as Kelly departed Philadelphia for Tennessee and Green-Beckham set out for the NovaCare Complex. Green-Beckham will travel with the team to Pittsburgh, but he won't play. He's due to get a crash course on the Eagles' offensive playbook and step on the field for the first time next Saturday at Indianapolis.
"Incredibly talented guy," Roseman said. "He's got to make the most of this opportunity. It's going to be up to him to prove his value to this football team."
That's the hope here. The Eagles are well aware of Green-Beckham's history in college, when he was dismissed by Missouri and enrolled at Oklahoma and never played. They know he was reasonably productive as a rookie in Tennessee, but that the coaching staff there made it very clear that they wanted more from Green-Beckham, who had 30 catches that went for first downs among his 32 receptions as a rookie last season. Twice in the final five weeks Green-Beckham had big games – five catches, 119 yards and a touchdown in a win over Jacksonville, and then six catches for 113 yards in a loss against New England – but there were also games in which Green-Beckham was a non-factor. He followed up the big outing against New England with zero catches in a starting role in a blowout loss against Houston.
and fifth-round selection Halapoulivaati Vaitai, along with some after-the-draft additions, mitigates the loss of Kelly. And Roseman also admitted that with some draft picks that have been dealt away in the coming years as a result of the trade to move up in the draft and acquire Carson Wentz, the Eagles needed to take a "risk" or two with players who have character questions in their backgrounds "to increase the talent level."
For sure, there is some competition at wide receiver on this roster now. The full group – and the roster, you would assume – is on alert. The Eagles aren't finished shaping this roster – expect the team to be busy when cuts around the league are made – and they know they're going to have to have a high "hit" rate to boost the roster's talent quality.
Few receivers have the talent level of Dorial Green-Beckham. He isn't here to be a savior, but if the Eagles can get him to realize the tremendous opportunity in front of him and play to his ability, then Roseman just boosted a wide receiver corps in need of some impact. If not, the Eagles will keep their eyes open for other chances to make the roster better at every position.