The Eagles shipped 10-year veteran Isaac Sopoaga with the draft pick to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick. (AP)
Updated 4:45 p.m.
Upon his March arrival in South Philadelphia, defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga insisted the Eagles would “shock the world.”
If they do abruptly reverse course and make the postseason under first-year coach Chip Kelly, Sopoaga won’t be here to help fulfill his promise.
The Eagles on Tuesday traded the 32-year-old nose tackle and a 2014 sixth-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for a 2014 fifth-round pick.
For playing eight games in an Eagles uniform, Sopoaga earned approximately $3.3 million.
Sopoaga, who spent his first nine seasons with the 49ers, had signed a three-year deal worth $11.0035 million. He came with Super Bowl experience and the run-defense pedigree the Eagles badly needed in their scheme change from a 4-3 front to a 3-4 scheme.
He played 237 snaps in the Eagles’ first eight games and was credited with 18 tackles, one for a loss, and three hurries. His departure signifies a bump in playing time for rookie third-round pick Bennie Logan, along with veteran Clifton Geathers and rookie Damion Square.
Logan has two sacks, tied for third-most on the team with DeMeco Ryans and Vinny Curry, in just 171 snaps, or 28 percent of all defensive snaps. Geathers has improved against the run and is coming off his best overall game in Sunday’s 15-7 loss to the Giants.
Square, an undrafted rookie from Alabama who has been inactive from the third through eighth games, impressed the coaches during training camp and was part of the team’s defensive line rotation for the first two weeks.
Although Sopoaga didn’t contribute much from a statistical perspective, his presence in the classroom and on the practice field made an impact on an emerging defensive line that started slowly but has made major strides since the preseason.
Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox, two of the team’s best linemen, frequently credited Sopoaga’s instruction and business-like approach in helping them transition from a one-gap defensive front to a hybrid scheme that features a lot of two-gap.
Thornton has emerged into the team’s best run-stopping lineman and Cox has shaken off a rough start to become a force up front over the past few weeks, both against the run and in the pass rush.
For that, the Eagles paid Sopoaga $2.75 million in a roster bonus and $529,412 of his 2013 base salary of $1 million.
Sopoaga, in his 10th season, is due $3.75 million in base salary in 2014 and $3.5 million in 2015. The Patriots owe Sopoaga $470,588 in base salary for the rest of the 2013 season and are on the hook for the $1 million guaranteed portion of his 2014 base salary.
CSNPhilly.com columnist Reuben Frank contributed reporting.