Three NFL trade deadline targets Redskins could try to buy low on
The Redskins don’t exactly have the best tackle depth in the world. Trent Williams doesn’t seem likely to play for the team ever again, and they really should trade him. Meanwhile, Donald Penn has been solid at left tackle this year, but he is a 36-year-old veteran on a one-year deal. He was unsigned until training camp began, so it’s unclear how much the team will want to bring him back.
Heading into 2020, the Redskins will have only Morgan Moses and Geron Christian at tackle. Christian has failed to make strides at the NFL level as a tackle while Moses has struggled badly with penalties once again this season. The team will likely draft a tackle early in a loaded class to help at the position, but they could also look to bolster their depth in other ways.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai — try saying that 10 times fast (seriously, I did last night and it’s difficult) — could be an interesting piece for them to look into. The Eagles may be looking to move on from Vaitai given that he is a free agent at the end of this season.
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The Eagles drafted Andre Dillard in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, so he is the swing tackle. Vaitai serves as the fourth tackle and backup guard for them, but given that they have sixth-round pick from 2018, Matt Pryor, on the roster, they could look to move on from the free-agent-to-be if they get a good enough offer.
Trading interdivisionally is also difficult, so this may not happen. But Vaitai would make sense for the Redskins. He’d give them a versatile top-backup on the offensive line who would be better and more experienced than Christian. He could hold down a starting spot at guard or tackle if necessary and at the very least, he would upgrade the thin depth the team has on the offensive line.
Vaitai could also be re-signed in the offseason to continue as the swing tackle and serve as insurance for whichever tackle the Redskins may draft in 2020. That would be the ideal scenario as Vaitai projects as a great, versatile top backup. And, he’s still just 26. That said, if he left, the team would recoup a compensatory pick, so they could end up essentially breaking even depending on what they would trade the Eagles.
It doesn’t seem likely that the Redskins would trade for Vaitai given his contract situation and that the Eagles won’t want to give him to a divisional rival. But from a needs standpoint, Vaitai makes sense. Perhaps they’ll target him as a free agent if they can’t land him now.