The Philadelphia Eagles are one of multiple teams the Cleveland Browns have reached out to regarding a potential offensive tackle trade, according to a report from NFL insider Charles Robinson.
Multiple league sources have told Yahoo Sports that Dorsey has spent weeks reaching out to a swath of teams about acquiring offensive line help before the deadline — including three from the NFC East: the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. The sources said Dorsey is concentrating his efforts on starting-caliber offensive tackles while lining up backup options if the Redskins ultimately refuse to part ways with seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams.
Robinson specifically mentions Big V as a target the Browns could be interested in:
If that [trade for Williams or Nate Solder] doesn’t come together? Option No. 3 for Dorsey would be more of a bargain move for depth and flexibility — targeting one of the Eagles’ offensive tackles. Specifically backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who has starting experience at tackle and also the flexibility to play guard if needed. Vaitai is in the last year of his rookie deal and has been the odd man out in an offensive tackle quartet that includes top-end starters Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, as well as rookie Andre Dillard.
Vaitai is a player the Eagles should absolutely be willing to trade. He’s in the last year of his contract and he’s clearly not in the long-term plans with the Eagles drafting Andre Dillard to be Jason Peters’ replacement at left tackle. The Eagles also still have Jordan Mailata, who’s currently on injured reserve, under contract through 2021.
The Eagles shouldn’t and won’t be trading Vaitai for just any pick they can get. If the Eagles feel like they can get a higher pick for Vaitai via him signing a contract in free agency and earning the Eagles a 2021 compensatory selection, they’ll opt to go that route.
The feeling here is that it would take at least a 2020 fourth-round pick to acquire Vaitai. Cleveland currently owns two picks in that round: their own and the Houston Texans (though that selection could and likely will be elevated to a 2020 third-round pick if/when Duke Johnson is active for his 10th game).
Of course, the Eagles might be interested in acquiring a player from the Browns instead of a pick. Speedy wide receiver Antonio Callaway? A cornerback? A defensive lineman?
The Eagles’ offensive line picture will certainly be worse off in the short-term if they trade Vaitai. He’s currently serving as the top backup to Dillard, who’s filling in for an injured Peters. Vaitai is also the top backup at both guard spots. If Vaitai is traded, the Eagles could be relying on 2018 sixth-round pick Matt Pryor — who mightily struggled in the preseason — to replace Vaitai as the top non-center offensive lineman off the bench. The Eagles can’t just re-sign Stefen Wisniewski because he’s currently on the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster.
I don’t expect the Eagles to be full blown sellers ahead of the 2019 NFL trade deadline (4:00 PM on Tuesday, October 29) even if they drop to 3-5 with a loss to the Buffalo Bills this weekend. I think the Eagles believe they can contend this year in part due to a schedule that gets easier towards the end of the year.
Even so, the Eagles should strongly consider selling Vaitai is the price is right. The Eagles desperately need young talent on this team after only making 10 draft picks in the last two years, which is tied for the fewest in the entire league.
(PS: Dear Browns, please don’t look back at that 2018 preseason game you played against the Eagles where Myles Garrett absolutely destroyed Vaitai. Thank you.)
Should the Eagles trade Halapoulivaati Vaitai to the Browns?
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