Philadelphia Eagles: Halapoulivaati Vaitai appears to be safe from trade

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

After some early Philadelphia Eagles speculation, it looks like Halapoulivaati Vaitai isn’t going anywhere at the 2019 NFL trade deadline.

The Philadelphia Eagles are at an interesting spot going into the 2019 NFL trade deadline.

Sitting at 4-4, the fanbase appears pretty evenly split on whether to cash in future assets to go all-in on a playoff run or if the team should instead shed some expiring contracts and focus their energy on adding young, cost-controlled talent via future draft picks.

While the final deadline is still hours away and a few players like Sidney Jones may end up earning a change of scenery, one player who won’t have to look for a new apartment this season appears to be Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

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Maybe its the recent knee injury suffered by Jason Peters that gave Howie Roseman pause, or the fact that Vaitai serves as the team’s primary reserve lineman at four of the five positions across the line, but if the Eagles seriously wanted to move on from the former fifth-round pick out of TCU, they had the perfect opportunity to do so on Monday afternoon and opted against it.

You see, speculation about Vaitai’s status rose yet again over the weekend when NFL Insider Ian Rapoport mentioned the fourth-year pro as a player to watch at the trade deadline. With Andre Dillard locked in as the team’s left tackle of the future, and Vaitai in line for a new contract come March, a team with a desperate need at tackle may have been willing to overpay for half a season of his services if they believe an upgrade on the offensive line is the key to a playoff push.

But if the Eagles didn’t trade Vaitai to the Cleveland Browns as a part of the recently completed deal for Genard Avery, a move probably isn’t going to happen.

You see, Vaitai and the Browns have been linked for months now as a less pricey alternative to Washington tackle Trent Williams. With a perfect opportunity to make a player-for-player swap, it’s pretty telling that Avery cost a 2021 fourth-round pick to acquire without any additional compensation (more on the move here).

Would Vaitai for Avery straight up an even-value trade? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m sure the team would have happily included Big V in a trade to diminish the draft capital they surrendered had he been on the block.

The fact that Avery and Vaitai will soon be teammates speaks volumes.

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Could this line of thinking be wrong and Halapoulivaati Vaitai ends up in Houston, Los Angeles, or even Cleveland before the deadline? That is totally possible, but with a perfect opportunity to get a deal done, it would appear the Philadelphia Eagles value offensive line depth over a mid-to-late round draft pick with the playoffs on the horizon. I guess a future compensatory pick and a backup guard/tackle is worth more than an immediate return in 2020.