Minutes before Tuesday’s trade deadline ended, defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga was sent to the New England Patriots in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The compensation was minimal as the Patriots sent the Eagles a 2014 fifth round draft pick for a sixth round pick and Sopoaga in return.
The Patriots’ need for big man in the middle of their defense has been apparent, having already lost All-Pro Vince Wilfork for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon. New England’s other defensive tackle, Tommy Kelly, is banged up as well. The trade for Sopoaga might signal Kelly’s inability to return to action.
It poses this question: What will be the availability of Sopoaga for this Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers? If active, what kind of impact will he have on the game? The 330-pound behemoth of a man will be active. That should not be breaking news, but there should not be anything keeping him off the field.
Since Wilfork has gone down for the season, the Patriots have given up 156.5 yards rushing in their last four games. Sopoaga will make his impact felt in that category against the 2-5 Steelers. The return of the 3-4 defense will also get the 11-year veteran on the field sooner rather than later. He should get immediate playing time over current starting tackles rookies Chris Jones and Joe Vellano.
Until the 2012 season, Sopoaga has been anchoring the defense of the San Francisco 49ers, but during the past offseason Sopoaga was not in team’s plans. The Eagles signed the stingy defensive tackle to three-year contract. Since the Eagles have under-performed woefully on that side of the ball, it made this trade a possibility for the Patriots.
This trade might not be the “wow” factor that possibly could have made Twitter explode. After this season is all said and done, however, it might show the NFL once again that coach Bill Belichick is still that “wow” kind of coach.