Eagles trade Stanley Havili to Colts for DE Clifton Geathers

Eagles trade Stanley Havili to Colts for DE Clifton Geathers
March 28, 2013, 3:15 pm
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The new-look Eagles defense under first-year head coach Chip Kelly and coordinator Billy Davis is continuing to take shape.

On Thursday, the team added much-needed depth to its changing defensive line by trading for Clifton Geathers, a 6-foot-7, 325-pound defensive end who will compete with Vinny Curry for the five-technique spot opposite Fletcher Cox in the team’s new 3-4 scheme.

Geathers, a sixth-round pick of the Browns in 2010 who also spent time with the Dolphins, Seahawks and Cowboys before moving onto the Colts, has played in 15 total games and has one sack.

The 25-year-old former South Carolina standout has the size and skill set to be a run-stopper, which is what the Eagles need for their odd front to go along with Cox and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. Curry, a second-round pick last year who didn’t get onto the field until Nov. 26, will also work at the position, although his pedigree is more rushing the passer than stopping the run.

The Eagles added Geathers (pronounced “Gathers”), the younger brother of Bengals defensive end Robert Geathers, for second-year fullback Stanley Havili, who had no future with the organization.

Havili had some versatility but was mainly used as a traditional fullback last year as a first-year pro in former coach Andy Reid’s West Coast offense. Kelly doesn’t plan to use a traditional fullback for his offense.

The Eagles signed free-agent fullback/tight end James Casey early in free agency and have second-year pro Emil Igwenagu, each of which can play the versatile H-back spot that Kelly prefers.

Losing out on free-agent outside linebacker Victor Butler had no bearing on trade, according to an NFL source. Butler, who signed with the Saints on Thursday, had visited with the Eagles on Monday night and Tuesday.

But the Eagles have positioned themselves to add more depth to their front seven in the draft or the latter stages of free agency. They have the fourth overall pick and nine total picks.

As it stands, they have a stable of NFL-caliber pass-rushing outside linebackers in Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham and Philip Hunt. They also signed Canadian Football League standout Chris McCoy and former second-round pick Everette Brown.

But with only Cole, Graham and Barwin guaranteed jobs this season, the Eagles could easily look for another edge-rushing linebacker, such as potential first-rounders Dion Jordan (Oregon) or Ziggy Ansah (BYU), early in the draft. Or they could look to stabilize their three-man defensive line, which is still thin despite the trade for Geathers.

Geathers, who played 36 games at South Carolina, registered 72 career tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, six sacks and two forced fumbles in college. He comes from a long line of defensive linemen in his family.

His brother, Robert, has spent nine seasons with the Bengals after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 draft. His dad, Robert Sr., was taken in the third round of the 1981 draft by the Bills. His uncle, James “Jumpy” Geathers, won a Super Bowl with the Redskins and recorded 66 sacks during his 13-year career.

The deal for Geathers is the team’s second trade since the March 12 start of the free-agent signing period, both intended to provide depth. Earlier this month, they worked a deal with Tampa Bay to acquire 24-year-old wide receiver Arrelious Benn, a second-round pick whose potential has been derailed by injuries.

The Eagles and Colts have become frequent trade partners ever since Jim Irsay hired former Eagles personnel chief Ryan Grigson last January to be the Colts’ general manager, making four separate deals.

The Eagles flipped offensive tackle Winston Justice to the Colts last March along with a sixth-round pick for Indianapolis’ sixth-rounder, which the Eagles used to trade with Seattle and move up to draft Cox.

In a 10-day span of training camp, the Eagles and Colts made two trades that brought in cornerback Kevin Thomas, defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu and a seventh-rounder in exchange for cornerback D.J. Johnson and linebackers Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd, Jr. Thomas and Ogbu were each cut before the regular season.

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