Eagles steal DeMeco Ryans in surprising trade


Don't call them the Dream Team yet, but the Eagles have landed their first major outside acquisition of the offseason.

Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans is headed to Philadelphia from Houston for a 2012 fourth-round draft pick and a swap of third-round choices.

It's a home run for the Eagles. They badly needed a middle linebacker; Ryans is a natural 4-3 man in the middle. He stops the run and calls the plays. The Eagles needed leadership at a position where their young players struggled in 2011.

Jamar Chaney now can move to the outside. Combined with promising second-year pro Brian Rolle, the Eagles have a chance to turn a weakness into a team strength.

So why would the Texans want to give up a 27-year-old, two-time Pro Bowl pick and Defensive Rookie of the Year?

Ryans suffered a torn Achilles in 2010 and initially was slow to recover last year. He also didn't fit as naturally into Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense, although Ryans played quite well at the end of the season.

The Texans traded Ryans because they could afford to do it. He's due $5.9 million in 2012, and that number goes up in future years. Houston wants to free up money to sign some of its other young players long term. The team also has a young in-house candidate to replace Ryans in Daryl Sharpton.

We've seen this trade described as a win-win by a few sources. Make no mistake: The Eagles won more.