City Sports Report

What To Make Of The Eagles Trading LeSean McCoy To Buffalo

LeSean McCoy is gonna be a welcomed addition to the Buffalo Bills ( photo courtesy of www.bleedinggreennation.com)

The first big shock of the NFL offseason has now hit us all. In a trade that will become official next week, the Philadelphia Eagles traded star running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for the services of linebacker Kiko Alonso. Of course the reaction was wide-ranged across the board. There were Eagles fans calling for Chip Kelly to be gone and there were others that were ready to take their loyalty to another team. And there were others that were still believing what Chip Kelly was selling to the team. On the other hand, some think of the Buffalo Bills as championship contenders after this big move. While others think this move does not take them where they need to go. There are many different facets to this trade and what it all could mean.

The Eagles were a playoff team under Chip Kelly his first year in the NFL. Many thought in his second year, he would make even more strides towards bringing the city a championship. But with the offseason cut of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the loss of their starting quarterback and the porous secondary coverage, the Eagles took a step back and missed the playoffs. The speed and electricity that Jackson brought to the Eagles offense was felt throughout the entire season. Sure, Jeremy Maclin returned from a torn ACL the previous season and played well, but there was no one to take the top off the defense like Jackson. As a result, there were more people near the line of scrimmage and that created less running lanes like the previous season. As a result, running back LeSean McCoy was not as effective as the previous year when he was arguably the best running back in the game. His yards per carry went down from 5.1 to 4.2 and he rushed for almost 300 less yards. In the vision of some, that could be viewed as him losing a step or two. With the Eagles paying him over $10 million, it was thought that the Eagles were going to ask him to take a paycut. And even though some in the Eagles’ brass have said that is not the case, his salary for his production dip had to be in their collective minds. So the Eagles decided to make this trade while they could get some value for McCoy because they could be facing not getting a lot of value for him with another decline this upcoming season.

In trading McCoy, the Eagles gained more cap space and took a chance on a linebacker that sat out all season with a torn ACL. Kiko Alonso had a great rookie season for the Bills. The former University of Oregon linebacker was spectacular and was the best defensive player on the field for the Bills in the 2013 season. But the Eagles are taking a huge risk bringing this player in with the injury concerns. He could end up being a great piece to a team that adds defense. But he could also be a guy that will still labor around on a leg that isn’t the same as before. Another issue at hand with McCoy gone is who will replace his production. Despite some hating the East-West style he had, he could break long runs and kept defenses on their heels. With the amount of money the Eagles have, they may be able to find a back in the free agent market, but none that are available would fit like Shady McCoy did in that offense. Another idea is they could draft a back to take his place. Some may even say that Darren Sproles can replace him, but let’s be honest. Sproles is a change of pace back that is not made to take the full load of the offense on his shoulders. One option could be for them to go to their division rival Cowboys and pluck running back DeMarco Murray from them. But even he cannot do some of the things that McCoy can do with the ball. In the end, the Eagles have to replace the services of McCoy and it is not very certain how they will do so. But one thing is definitely for sure about the Eagles moving forward: they have tons of cap space to make some changes to their team. With the release of veteran defensive end Trent Cole, defensive back Cary Williams and the trade of Shady McCoy, the Eagles helped boost their amount of available cap space for this offseason to $46.8 million. They can now use that money to maybe sign back Jeremy Maclin, potentially sign a running back, get another pass rusher, and add a starting corner perhaps to a defense that gave many Eagles fans headaches. It’s too early to tell what the outcome of this entire thing so far, but on the Eagles side it does not look so good.

For the Buffalo Bills, they have brought in new head coach Rex Ryan to take over the reins and add some spice to the vanilla atmosphere in Western New York. And with this trade, a bolt of energy just shot through this team. The Bills added a back that strikes fear in the opponents each and every week. And he replaces a back in CJ Spiller that was often injured and did not give the Bills what they needed in previous seasons. Another good thing about McCoy has on his side is the system he is going to. McCoy is headed to play for Rex Ryan as head coach, but his offensive coordinator will be former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. With Roman at the controls, it means that Shady can look to see the football 20-25 times a game. The more McCoy get the football, the more dangerous he will be. And now he will be getting what he wants, an offense that is built around his ability to run the football and make plays. The effectiveness of Shady will make a talented group of wide receivers even better. But it may not even matter how good Shady is if they cannot get a quarterback to make some things happen. With Roman taking over, the Bills may give another shot to former 1st round pick EJ Manuel. The former Florida State quarterback was benched last season in favor of veteran quarterback Kyle Orton. But with Orton retiring after last season, it opens the door for Manuel to take over the reins again in Buffalo. If he takes over again and has some success, then the Buffalo Bills offense will be dangerous. If he does not show up, then he could be looking at the bench of even worse, a game-manager that no one can trust to throw the football. Either way, the Bills have to find out what they have in him in order to move forward. And honestly, no one really knows what he is and what he can or cannot be.

For the price that Shady was acquired by, this may mean the end of one of their best pass rushers from last season. Jerry Hughes was a bust with the Indianapolis Colts early in his career. Many thought that he would not even amount to much after he flamed out in Indianapolis. But the young man landed in Buffalo and was determined to prove himself. And when being paired with great pass rusher Mario Williams, Hughes became a part of the best pass rush in the NFL. But along with that, he may have priced himself out of Buffalo. And with that, the Buffalo defense will take a hit. The addition of Shady is nice there, but the defense is what helped this team have a chance last season. And going forward, it will be interesting to see what they do to replace Hughes and his production on the opposite side of Williams. Having a great pass rusher is good. But having more than one makes a defense even better. The Bills have the right man for the job in Rex Ryan to create pressure, but he will need all the pieces to compliment what looks to be a run-heavy offense. If they can figure this out via the draft of a low-budget free agent, then the hope still remains that they can be a darkhorse candidate for the Super Bowl. But if they cannot replace the production they received from Hughes, then there will be yet another hole the team will have to plug.

All in all, this trade has its pluses and minuses for the both teams. Early signs are that it is a win for the Bills. Chip Kelly may have some more moves up his sleeve, but as of right now, he seems to be not gaining much traction among the fans of his team.

For more sports talk, follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

4 Comments

  1. Steve

    March 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    The Eagles were ready to dump McCoy and put feelers out for a trade. The feeling is they were dumping him a year early rather than a year too late. More disturbing than his 5.1 – 4.2 YPC was his yards per reception. It dipped from 10.4 in 2013 to only 5.5 YPR in 2014.

    He’ll upgrade the Buffalo running game but the issue for the Bills remains who is going to be the QB? Until they get that resolved, they are on the outside of the playoff hunt

  2. ASR

    March 4, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Philly needed a LB after the injury to DeMeco Ryans last season and CJ Spiller is a good back just not a durable one. The Bills aren’t as far away as some may think and adding Shady is a step in the right direction.

    • Mike Patton

      March 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Philly may have needed a linebacker but Kiko coming off his second serious knee injury isn’t a sure bet.

  3. Pingback: Philly Makes Another Puzzling Trade

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