NFL Rumors: Are the Indianapolis Colts Trading for a Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End?

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Earlier today, Indianapolis Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay tweeted: “TRADE WINDS BLOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Dan Graham, a former columnist who is listed on Twitter as ColtsInsider, tweeted: “#Colts #Eagles talking trade DE (meetings all day details later)”

Philadelphia Eagles beat writers have not confirmed that a trade is in the works. In fact, nobody has actually confirmed that the Eagles and Colts are working on a trade.

But the rumors are flying and it would definitely make sense.

First, you can expect players to go back and forth between the Eagles and Colts all the time, just like the Eagles and Cleveland Browns. That’s because the Colts’ GM is Ryan Grigson, who previously worked as the director of player personnel for the Eagles.

In the seven months that Grigson has been the Colts’ GM, he has signed former Eagles offensive tackle Winston Justice through free agency and he has traded for Eagles linebackers Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd Jr. Justice is now a starting right tackle for the Colts and Fokou and Lloyd Jr will probably make the 53-man roster for the Colts. They likely would have been cut if they stayed in Philly.

So it’s not unlikely that the Colts and Eagles are working out a trade. But I’m not sure if the Colts need a defensive end. They could use improvement at a lot of positions, notably running back, wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers, and the secondary. They’re pretty good at defensive end though, with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis as their starters.

Let’s say they did want to get more depth though. Who would they want from the Eagles?

Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Phillip Hunt, and Darryl Tapp are the options.

I’d put Cole, Graham, and Curry in the untouchable category. I’d say Babin is pretty close to untouchable. And I don’t know why the Eagles would want to trade for Hunt, who has been arguably their most dominant defensive player of the preseason.

Veteran Darryl Tapp has been the subject of trade rumors for a while anyway so it would make sense that he is the guy to go in a trade.

He is the sixth defensive end on the Eagles’ depth chart but he could start for a lot of teams in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 24th best defensive end out of 99 qualifiers last year. He was one of 16 defensive ends to rate at least 5.0 on pass rush and run defense. He’s a versatile defensive end and he’s only 27, so he should have five more good years in him.

I’m not sure who the Eagles could acquire for Tapp but my theory, if the trade happens, is that they’re bringing back Winston Justice to play left tackle.

Justice was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2006 draft, but he struggled during his six seasons in Philly. He is best remembered for surrendering four sacks to defensive end Osi Umenyiora in Osi’s six-sack game against Donovan McNabb in 2007. He was also benched against the Green Bay Packers in the playoff game in 2010 after a mediocre season as the starter.

He wouldn’t be an ideal starter but highly coveted free agent signing Demetress Bell has really struggled with offensive line coach Howard Mudd’s new system. Veteran King Dunlap is the current starter at left tackle but I think the Eagles know that he isn’t fit to start in the NFL. He’s a good backup but not a good option as a starter.

Justice knows Mudd’s system, having spent a year in Philadelphia. I’m not sure whether he would be a better option than Bell or Dunlap at left tackle though, but as of now, he’s the only player I could really see the Eagles trading for.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.