Eagles Trade for Kiko Alonso
Never let it be said that the NFL is a boring league. In a surprising move, the Eagles acquired Kiko Alonso in a trade with the Bills for LeSean McCoy. In the process, Philadelphia unloads McCoy’s hefty contract while giving the Eagles one of the league’s brightest young stars at the linebacker position.
It’s been a busy day for the Eagles with both Cary Williams and Trent Cole getting released. More moves could come in the near future, as Alonso’s acquisition almost certainly spells the end of DeMeco Ryans’ time with Philadelphia.
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Alonso played his college ball at Oregon under current Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. The Bills selected him with the 46th pick in the 2013 draft. He opened his rookie season as an every-down starter and became a surprise IDP asset, producing 159 total tackles to go along with four picks and two sacks. Alonso’s performance on the field earned him second place in the defensive rookie of the year voting, with Sheldon Richardson narrowly edging him by four votes for the honor.
A preseason ACL tear sidelined Alonso for the entire 2014 season, but he’s now nearly eight months removed from surgery and reported to be 100 percent for the start of training camp.
In the wake of this move, Buffalo is now left with Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown as their two incumbent inside linebackers. It’s expected the Bills will let free agent Brandon Spikes walk, and the rumor mill has linked former Rex Ryan player David Harris to the Bills. At this point, both Bradham’s and Brown’s IDP arrows are pointing up for 2015, though that could change if a veteran free agent is brought in.
The change of scenery shouldn’t have a significant impact on Alonso’s IDP value, though he will have to compete with Mychal Kendricks for tackles. It’s also important to keep in mind that he goes from the video game-like tackle numbers of the Buffalo home stats crew to the much more solo-tackle heavy Philadelphia crew. Still, the move will keep Alonso more than fantasy-relevant.
Over the last two seasons, the Eagles used both Ryans and Kendricks in the subpackages with the latter getting preference in dime situations. While it’s still unclear how the Eagles will deploy their inside linebackers in 2015, it will be tough for them to keep Alonso off the field. In 2013, he graded out as the No. 2 inside linebacker in coverage out of 55 qualifiers.
Those skills in coverage give Alonso appeal from an IDP standpoint, as he has the capability to fill up the stats sheet in more than just the tackle column. That being said, the Eagles conservative stat crew and the presence of Kendricks slots Alonso tentatively in as a high ceiling LB2.
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.