NOVEMBER 16: To little surprise, Dean was indeed placed on IR Thursday, per a team announcement. He can be activated a second time, but the news nevertheless confirms another extended absence in what has been an injury-plagued campaign. Once safety Justin Evans and offensive lineman Cam Jurgens are brought back into the lineup, the Eagles will have five IR activations remaining.
NOVEMBER 8: Nakobe Dean‘s first season as a starter may not end up including much game action. The Eagles are preparing to place the second-year linebacker on IR for a second time.
The 2022 third-round pick suffered a Lisfranc sprain, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport. A visit with a foot specialist is on tap, but another trip to IR is expected. Dean missed four games earlier this season due to a foot injury as well. This is a separate foot injury, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, who notes the Georgia alum sustained an injury to his right foot in September.
The Eagles would have the option of activating Dean for a second time, as the 49ers did with Elijah Mitchell last season. But both activations would count against the defending NFC champions’ allotted eight for the season. Philly has used just one activation thus far — on Dean in Week 6 — so it would stand to reason Dean would be a candidate to return down the stretch. (Teams cannot activate the same player three times in a season, however.) Of course, the matter of Dean being able to play again this season is uncertain.
With Dean heading to IR again, he will not be eligible to come back until at least Week 15. The Eagles are on bye this week. The team used Nicholas Morrow extensively during Dean’s first absence. Morrow has retained a role since Dean’s October activation, but the former Raiders and Bears starter went from an every-down player to a part-timer. The Eagles needed him to step up against the Cowboys, with Dean again out of the mix, and likely will again going forward. Pro Football Focus still ranks Morrow as a top-10 off-ball linebacker, giving the Eagles a solid replacement option as they determine another rehab path with Dean.
Letting Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards walk in free agency, the Eagles centered their linebacker plan around Dean. Morrow and eventual starter Zach Cunningham arrived on veteran-minimum deals, with the organization allocating money elsewhere this offseason. The team effectively redshirted Dean in 2022 but had him wearing the green dot to start this season. In five games, the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year has made 30 tackles — including 13 in the Eagles’ Week 8 win over the Commanders — and notched a half-sack.