Eagles Trade LeSean McCoy to Bills
LeSean McCoy struggled through a down 2014 season and with a hefty salary going against the Philadelphia Eagles’ salary cap, he quickly became expendable. Per reports, the Eagles traded their star running back to the Buffalo Bills, achieving over $11 million in cap relief for 2015 and also acquiring stud inside linebacker, Kiko Alonso.
McCoy was understandably “frustrated” upon hearing of the trade, as he’s been a Pennsylvania “lifer” and will also be switching from a zone-blocking scheme to a man-blocking scheme in Buffalo. McCoy also will be leaving a situation where his team was a legit contender for the playoffs for most of his career, for a team that hasn’t been in the playoffs since 1999.
While this trade has been met with much speculation and understandable criticism, it’s clear that head coach Chip Kelly either is building a yearly contender or completely destroying a once elite roster. Kelly sent star wide receiver DeSean Jackson packing last year, but arguably knew what he was doing there with Jeremy Maclin and rookie Jordan Matthews ready to step up in his absence.
That could be the case with McCoy leaving, too. Philly has had an issue on defense for some time, namely at linebacker and safety. Alonso is a natural born leader and play-maker, and Kelly knows this from his up close and personal days at Oregon. With one linebacker position locked down, Kelly can enter free agency and this year’s draft knowing he has only a feel holes to fill, along with extra cap space to do it.
The Eagles are already rumored to be eyeing Mark Ingram in free agency, who could end up being a cheap alternative to the pricey McCoy. Philly could also spend an early pick on the running back position, with a deep pool of running backs entering the 2015 NFL Draft.
As for the Bills, they knew they were a top-five unit without Alonso already (he missed 2014 with a torn ACL), so he was fairly expendable once McCoy became available. The move makes sense for new Bills head coach Rex Ryan, who loves the “ground and pound” offense and with C.J. Spiller a free agent, was in need of a new feature back.
The Bills also added in a trade for Minnesota Vikings backup quarterback Matt Cassell, further illustrating Ryan’s desire to upgrade his roster, as well. It remains to be determined who got the best of this deal or which teams will march closer to the playoffs because of it, but it’s also completely possible it simply works for both sides.
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