In a stunning trade, the Philadelphia Eagles have swapped running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso. Although some believed that McCoy would be asked to restructure his contract, due to make over $10 million in 2015, nobody saw this blockbuster deal coming.
The league’s leading rusher in 2013 and third this past season, McCoy is already seeking an extension with Buffalo after this trade. He has three years remaining at around $6 million per season beyond 2015. This of course, brings C.J. Spiller’s stay to an official end, per Spiller’s statement and a team report. McCoy is still one of the best all-around running backs in the NFL at age 27.
Alonso won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 with 159 tackles, four interceptions, and a forced fumble. Alonso was all over the field, sideline to sideline, backfield to downfield covering tight ends. Again, that was as a rookie in 2013. Apparently, he did not want to stay in Buffalo, which is beyond me when you think about new head coach Rex Ryan and the defensive guru that he is. Alonso rejoins Kelly, another former Oregon Duck, and likely replaces DeMeco Ryans as the starting inside linebacker next to rising star, Mychal Kendricks. Ryans recently suffered a second achilles tear and will turn 31 before the 2015 season begins, so he sounds like another cap casualty.
A new regime brings new feelings, hence moving Shady and his contract out of the next. Remember, Kelly inherited most of the Eagles’ players and a 4-12 team, turning them around to a 20-12 record so far. All this, with three different starting quarterbacks, Michael Vick, Nick Foles, and Mark Sanchez, and two different number one wide receivers, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. This should put into perspective that Kelly strongly believes that selecting his own free agents and draft classes for his system, will take this franchise beyond 10 wins with playoff and Super Bowl hopes.
As for Shady, the Bills are a run-heavy team, which makes him a realistic candidate to reach the 2,000 yard milestone. Yes, I guess that would also make him a candidate to be in the MVP discussion, with those type of numbers and if the Bills were playoff bound. Replacing Spiller and taking the lead-role, McCoy will get spelled by the ageless Fred Jackson that still contributes like the Bills need him to. Whether unfortunate or good news for Bryce Brown, he was McCoy’s backup in Philly before getting traded to Buffalo last offseason too. With Jackson entering the final year of his contract at age 34, it looks like the plan is to groom Brown another season to be the change-of-pace back.
We are seeing the change of the guard and this is Kelly’s team now. They have moved on from several veterans this offseason: RB McCoy, RG Todd Herremans, OLB/DE Trent Cole, CB Bradley Fletcher, CB Cary Williams, likely free agent FS Nate Allen, and likely free agent OLB/DE Brandon Graham. These moves, especially the latest blockbuster trade, puts a big question mark as to whether the Eagles want to re-sign Maclin long-term. And maybe, just maybe, Kelly and the Eagles aren’t done wheeling and dealing when it comes to draft day and a certain quarterback.