Bills, Eagles: make splash with Alonso-McCoy swap

| 2 years ago

Bills, Eagles: make splash with Alonso-McCoy swap

PFF-headlinesIt’s rare two big names get traded for each other in the NFL, but that is what just happened in the NFL this evening. The Eagles traded running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills for Kiko Alonso.

In 2013 as a rookie, Alonso made a great first impression as a coverage linebacker. He had four interceptions early in the year, and allowed just 6.6 yards per catch. He missed all of 2014 due to injury. This past few years the Eagles used DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks as their two inside linebackers. Although Kendricks missed a few games in the middle of the season, he had a breakout year grading out a +19.1. This very well could lead to the release of DeMeco Ryans. Ryans played decently well in 2014, but now he may no longer have a place on the defense. Releasing him would free up $6.9 in cap space with no cap hit. We could see Alonso and Kendricks together in Philadelphia for the next several years.

It is unlikely that McCoy’s replacement is currently on the Eagles’ roster. The running back with the second most snaps was Darren Sproles, but he will be 32 by the time the season starts so it’s unlikely he can be efficient with a significant role increase. Chris Polk also received 97 snaps, but failed to make a case to be a starter.

Earlier in the day it was announced Trent Cole would be released, and he had the second largest cap hit on the team. Trading LeSean McCoy eliminates the player who had the biggest cap hit, and the potential release of DeMeco Ryans gives them even more cap room. This would allow the Eagles to make a run at multiple high-tier free agents to find a new running back as well as new players on defense.

For the Bills there was a need at running back. Fred Jackson has continued to play well even though he was 33 last season, but at age 34 it is inevitable his play will decline soon. With C.J. Spiller as a free agent, the Bills needed a back. In 2013 LeSean McCoy had a great year behind a great run blocking line. In 2014 he failed to be as effective with just 2.1 yards after contact per carry. Matching him up with coach Rex Ryan will lead to an interesting 2015 season. It would make sense to see McCoy playing in running situations, and Fred Jackson playing on passing downs.

Part of what made Alonso expendable is the play of their linebackers in 2014. The young duo of Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown played admirably. There have been rumors of a reunion of David Harris and Rex Ryan, and now those rumors make more sense. They could have certainly found a use for Alonso, but it wasn’t a luxury the Bills defense needed.



| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Jason Williams

    First thought – that’s insane. Second thought – Eagles got screwed real bad. No defensive player is worth shady McCoy.

    • dubinsky

      the Eagles dumped McCoy’s salary…and possibly were happy to be rid of the person.

      helluva runner……but it seems that the new boss is amassing cap cash. possibly to fix the defense and maybe even to sign an ex-Viking running back who might be had more cheaply than McCoy

    • Dildo Baggins

      No defensive player is worth LeSean McCoy?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?

    • Tim Edell

      Jason just when i think you can’t say anything dumber then your previous posts you once again prove me wrong sir

      • Jason Williams

        that almost felt like a compliment…

  • Josh

    A RB with a lot of mileage who counts $12M against the cap, in a year when Murray, Peterson, Vereen, Spiller, and a loaded draft class at the RB position are all out there. Traded for a young, very good LB on a rookie contract with experience in your system coming off an ACL. Slam dunk for Philly.

    • Jerome

      What people don’t understand about RBs like McCoy is that the ‘volume’ of carries don’t matter to the back that doesn’t take shots, I think that turf toe never went away so Shady will be fine. the trade was more about $$$$ more than anything. Kiko coming off a ACL injury & has previous knee issue in college so…..

  • The_Strategy_Expert

    Seems like a great trade for the Eagles to swap a significant multi-year sizable contract for a young and inexpensive player. The timing for this as an exit-strategy is interesting since it would be challenging for McCoy to produce a highly efficient ratio of production/cost.

  • PackMaster

    Interesting move for the Bills. Trading young talent for a vet is a win now move, however, I don’t believe this team has the tools to make a championship run. Major QB issue, 2 big O-line holes, and need another good pass catcher. Defensively, the the Bills look great with the only need being a pass rusher to replace Hughes. Alonso anchors a strong trio of young LBs and the move eats up cap space for finding the replacement pass rusher. However, these needs could be covered up in FA. A Qb like Hoyer (who I like) can be signed for 5-7 mil, there are a bunch of veteran RTs available, FA and the draft both have quality WRs, and they have the cap space to sign a 10 mil pass rusher. Personally, I think the Bills could have drafted a top 3 RB with their 2nd round pick if they believed it was a huge issue and used the 10 mil on McCourty. A talented ball hawk behind that pass rush… also the man coverage skills for heavy blitzes. However, Rex does love his ground and pound so could provide the spark this team needs.

  • Dildo Baggins

    We can argue over the trade all we want, but McCoy was gone no matter what. Its better they at least get something for him rather than just cut him. If Kiko Alonso cant overcome the 2 ACL injuries in the last 5 years, it was just basicly McCoy who got cut and the Eagles lose nothing. Smart trade by the Eagles. McCoy was also terrible last year and with the RB FA market and draft class, he will be easily replaced.

    • [email protected]

      Terrible? His entire O line was injured, several of them at the same time.
      I sure hope the Birds know what they’re doing – Kelly is either going to be a
      G-O-D or a D-O-G in about one year from now.

      • Dildo Baggins

        Why waste 12M on a back that is terrible without an oline? You can find backs that dont function without an oline for much cheaper.

        • [email protected]

          OK, we’ll see. But bear in mind that a lot of times you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone.
          Gore had some pretty good O lines to run behind in SF. We’ll see how he does behind what should be a good (i.e. healthy) O line in Philly – but he’s older and was just so so last year, so it will test the theory that ‘anybody’ can be plugged into Kelly’s ‘system’ and succeed.
          The 10 wins the Birds got with arguably the toughest slate of non-division foes is probably equivalent to like 11 or 12 when not playing the NFC West and AFC West.
          I just don’t buy that McCoy was ‘terrible’ but living in Philly I understand how overstated Eagles fans can be.

          • Dildo Baggins

            When the Oline is healthy, McCoy could still be a threat, but 12M i just too much for a RB like McCoy. He was dancing around all year and nobobdy turned more 5 yard gains into 1 yard gains than him. -9,3 for the year, third worst in the league. I have no idea how you can possibly say, that McCoy was anything other than bad last year.

            FYI i am a Detroit Lions fan, not an Eagles fan.

  • Colin Cody

    Man you guys gave McCoy -9.3 last year. Holy smokes, I knew he was frustrating, but did not think he was THAT bad. What were reasons? I thought he danced too much.

  • mikeconner48

    The best explanation i heard about this trade is you have to realize we didn’t just trade McCoy for Alonso we freed up millions in cap space so whatever that money is spent on is what we traded him for plus Kiko good move…

  • Will

    Well, the bills just re-worked his contract to give him 5yr/$40M
    The question now is – what kind of RB could they have gotten in FA for that deal. If DeMarco Murray signs for close to 5y/$40m , the Bills look pretty stupid…..