Injury to Dez Bryant Opens Door for Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley

Jonathan BargerContributor IDecember 12, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 09:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys crosses the goal line in front of Reggie Nelson #20 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Cowboys defeated the Bengals 20-19.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

One of the hottest receivers in the NFL, Dez Bryant, could be off the shelf for the rest of the season for the Dallas Cowboys.  Although Dez Bryant caught a touchdown pass with his fractured finger, the decision lies with Bryant on whether to end his season with surgery or to play through injury.

For Bryant, who is known for being extremely physical, the choice is no easy one.  Bryant suiting up but being ineffective could hurt the team, as the roster spot could be used on someone more productive.  Bryant could also help the team.  Even if Dez has a broken finger, the Steelers will still have to account for his playmaking ability, and this could open up opportunities for other receivers.  

The ultimate decoy.

If Dez sits out, the battle for 2013's third wide-receiver spot starts on December 16, 2012.  Kevin Ogletree should be, for all intents and purposes, removed from this equation.  His numerous opportunities have been squandered—save for a career day against the New York Giants during the season opener.

The main candidates are 2011 sixth-round draft pick, Dwayne Harris, and 2012 rookie free-agent Cole Beasley. Both have shown glimpses of excellent ball-handling, route running and playmaking abilities in the limited chances they have gotten.

Don't expect to see too much Andre Holmes—Jerry Jones' "pet cat" started off the year with a failed physical, and the only remarkable thing the 6'5" receiver has accomplished was a miracle on-side kick recovery against Baltimore.  (Later squandered by poor clock management.)