ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Sunday against the Bills might end up being Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s final game in an Eagles uniform.
Earlier this week, Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Davis mentioned that the Browns could possibly target Big V as a cheaper option if they can’t get a bigger-name offensive tackle.
And on Sunday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport again mentioned Vaitai as a possible fit for the Browns. And then he wrote this:
“Several teams have been keeping an eye on him, so Philly may have a real market. But they could also re-sign him in the offseason or simply keep him for depth, so that factors into the price.”
Vaitai, 26, is in the final year of his rookie contract, so the idea here would be to trade Vaitai before he walks in free agency. But if he walks in free agency, the Eagles would likely get a compensatory pick back. So if they trade him for a draft pick, then they’d need to get better value. A player-for-player trade would also make some sense.
While Vaitai probably isn’t a great option to start in the NFL, the former fifth-round pick has proven himself to be an adequate backup and has bolstered his stock this offseason as he learned how to play guard.
But it’s not like Vaitai has no value with the Eagles. With Jason Peters out, Vaitai would pretty much be the next player off the bench regardless of who gets hurt. If either tackle or guard gets hurt, he’d probably fill in. And if Jason Kelce got hurt, Isaac Seumalo would likely take over and Vaitai would go to left guard. And even if the Eagles don’t need Vaitai to play a position on the line, he’s been lining up as an extra tight end/tackle plenty over the last few weeks.
I actually thought the Eagles were going to try to sign Vaitai during the last offseason, but they didn’t get a deal done. It will probably be harder to get a deal done the closer he gets to free agency.
Overall, the Eagles are probably more likely to be buyers than sellers at the deadline, but there are some players who it might make some sense to trade. Vaitai fits into that category, but the Eagles don’t have to trade him, which means they can sit back and see what offers come in.
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