The New England Patriots agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles for veteran defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga just minutes in advance of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. They will send a 2014 fifth-round pick to the Eagles for Sopoaga and a 2014 sixth-round pick.
Sopoaga, 32, gives the Patriots much needed bulk in the middle of their defensive line, as standout nose tackle Vince Wilfork is on injured reserve due to an Achilles injury and fellow starter Tommy Kelly has not practiced since injuring his knee against the Bengals in Week 5.
With Wilfork and Kelly out, the Patriots have relied heavily on rookies Chris Jones and Joe Vellano, who was undrafted out of Maryland this season. Though Jones has been able to provide a steady pass rush presence, the Patriots have had struggles defending the run in recent weeks, as they've also been without leading-tackler Jerod Mayo, also on injured reserve. They have allowed over 100 yards rushing in each of the four games since Wilfork went down due to injury.
Originally a 2004 fourth-round pick of the 49ers, Sopoaga was signed to a three-year contract this offseason by the Eagles in an effort to bolster their run defense. He totaled 10 tackles in eight games played for Philadelphia. At 6-foot-2 and 330 pounds, he projects to play in the Patriots' base defensive personnel group.
It's the second straight year that the Patriots have swung a last-minute deadline deal, as they acquired cornerback Aqib Talib from the Buccaneers last season.