Philadelphia Eagles debate table: Is a Halapoulivaati Vaitai extension next?
So far this offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have extended two offensive linemen. Could Halapoulivaati Vaitai be next in line?
Welcome to the curious case of Halapoulivaati Vaitai. As fans of football, especially Philadelphia Eagles football, we expected there to be some growing pains. We thought, when the Eagles drafted their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz in 2016, that his success would hinge on putting talent along the offensive line in front of him.
The Eagles agreed, and in the same draft, they took Isaac Seumalo in the third round at pick 79. Then, they took Vaitai two rounds and 85 picks later at the 164th spot.
The expectation was it would take all of this young talent time to gel with one another and grow. We expected Wentz to struggle at times. After all, he was supposed to be the guy who sat and learned for a year, so an interception here or a misread there was forgivable.
We just weren’t always willing to forgive ‘Big V’ for his growing pains. This is the guy that stepped in time and time again and helped the Eagles to check marks in the win column and a successful Super Bowl run with stellar line play after future Pro Football Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters went down with injury during the NFL 2018-19 season.
Sometimes though, whether fair or unfair, all we seem to want to talk about is the times he struggled. At times, all we seem to want to remember about him is the time he got pushed around by Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins.
Sure, there’s more to him than that, but all we seem to gauge an offensive lineman on is whether or not he keeps guys off of the quarterback. Sometimes, ‘Big V’ has had difficulty doing that. An offensive lineman’s development has nothing to do with touchdown passes and interceptions, so Vaitai’s growth continues.
Unfortunately, we haven’t always graded him fairly. He’s a tremendous talent who’s looked good at times and struggled at times.
In less than a week, the Eagles have extended both Jason Kelce and the aforementioned Seumalo. They’ve also restructured Lane Johnson’s deal. Left tackle Jason Peters’ future is in the air, but in the case of Vaitai, Philly.com‘s Jeff McLane feels ‘Big V’ may be next in line for an extension.
Take a look:
Whether he’s right or not remains to be seen, but here’s what we know. ‘Big V’, like so many other young players needed coaching. He’s getting that. He’ll improve. Will Philly continue to invest in the development of their versatile offensive lineman? Only they can answer that. Until they do, the debates about who Vaitai is will continue.
That’s just part of playing in the NFL.