Eagles make another trade for defense

Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles (25) fumbles the ball as he is hit by Indianapolis defensive end Clifton Geathers during their game.

The Philadelphia Eagles could have a completely brand new defense this season.

They continued to revamp that unit on Thursday by acquiring defensive end Clifton Geathers in a trade with Indianapolis for fullback Stanley Havili.

Havili became expendable once the Eagles signed free-agent tight end/fullback James Casey earlier this month. The Colts were shopping Geathers after signing free-agent defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois.

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"Stanley fills an immediate need for us at the fullback position and provides us with a solid option in our new offensive scheme," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, a former Eagles executive, told PhiladelphiaEagles.com. "His speed, explosion and hard-nosed playing style are his main strengths, but he also possesses sound blocking and receiving skills.

"The Eagles in return are getting a young, very big and strong player in Cliff Geathers that can play every defensive line position to fill a need moving forward in their new scheme as well. We feel it's a win-win."

Geathers is the 11th player to join the Eagles in the last two weeks. The 25-year-old is also in a group of potential defensive starters that includes linebacker Connor Barwin, safety Patrick Chung, cornerback Bradley Fletcher, safety Kenny Phillips, defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga and cornerback Cary Williams.

Of the 11 players that started for the Eagles in last season's finale against the New York Giants, only seven - safeties Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson, defensive ends Trent Cole and Brandon Graham, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and linebackers DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and Jamar Chaney - are still with the team. Cox, Kendricks and Ryans are expected to stay in the starting lineup, but the others will be fighting for roster spots.

Geathers, 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds - he is the NFL's third-tallest defensive lineman behind Arizona's Calais Campbell and Tennessee's Ropati Pitoitua (both 6-8) - could play nose tackle or defensive end in new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis' 3-4 scheme.

Geathers, the brother of Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Robert Geathers, has played in 15 total games during stints with Cleveland, Miami, Seattle, Dallas and Indianapolis since entering the league as the Browns' sixth-round draft pick in 2010.

He played in one game for the Dolphins in 2010, six games for the Cowboys in 2010-11 and eight games with the Colts last season. He had five tackles and a sack in a reserve role for Indianapolis.

Geathers has also garnered strong interest because of his size and pedigree. In addition to his brother, his father (Robert Sr.) and uncle (James "Jumpy" Geathers) also played in the NFL.

Robert Geathers Sr. was drafted by Buffalo in 1981. Jumpy Geathers played 13 seasons, collected 66 career sacks and earned two Super Bowl rings while playing for New Orleans, Washington, Atlanta and Denver from 1984-96.

Havili played in 15 of 16 games for the Eagles last season after spending his rookie year in 2011 on the Eagles' practice squad. He was a seventh-round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Southern California.

He rushed for 22 yards on six carries and caught seven passes for 43 yards while also serving as a lead blocker for running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. He scored his only career touchdown on a 1-yard run against Dallas on Nov. 11.

Havili is among four Eagles to join the Colts recently, along with linebackers Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd, and offensive linemen Winston Justice and Mike McGlynn. Fokou (Tennessee) and Lloyd (Buffalo) signed with new teams this offseason.

Notes: Free-agent linebacker Darryl Tapp, who played the last three seasons with the Eagles signed with the Washington Redskins on Thursday. Tapp hasn't been a regular starter since 2008. He has 24 career sacks in 103 games.

Contact David Weinberg:


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