PHILADELPHIA – When Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was asked to name some defensive players who excelled in Sunday’s loss to Dallas, he volunteered three defensive linemen: Fletcher Cox, who is 22; Cedric Thornton, 25, and Clifton Geathers, 25.
Considering the Eagles play a 3-4 defense, that was probably a hint that 32-year-old nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga had become expendable. The Eagles proved that Tuesday, trading Sopoaga and a sixth-round pick in the 2014 to New England for a fifth-round pick.
The compensation – basically a late pick for another late pick -- tells the story. The Eagles effectively dumped Sopoaga, the former San Francisco 49er who signed a three-year contract with a $2.75 million bonus and $1 million salary for 2013. The Patriots will owe Sopoaga $529,000 (nine weeks’ worth) in salary for this year.
Sopoaga was credited with a total of 18 tackles in eight games with the Eagles.
After signing Sopoaga, the Eagles drafted defensive tackle Bennie Logan in the third round of the 2013 draft. Sopoaga played 49 snaps against the Giants Sunday, Logan just 11. Clearly, the Eagles feel Logan and Damion Square, who has been inactive, can give them at least the same production as Sopoaga.
The Eagles have a similar redundancy at tight end. They signed free agent James Casey to a three-year, $12-million deal, which included $3.3 million up front. Then they drafted Zach Ertz in the second round, making Casey an expensive special teams player. Ertz played 27 offensive snaps against the Giants, Casey just seven.