It didn’t take long. Within 24 hours of the Eagles announcing that Jay Ajayi is out for the year with a torn ACL, the rumor mill is spinning at an alarming rate. The latest and perhaps most interesting name to be doing the rounds right now is LeSean McCoy.
The #Eagles have reached out to the #Bills about a possible trade for LeSean McCoy, per source. Philly just lost RB Jay Ajayi for the season due to a torn ACL. McCoy spent the first 6 seasons of his career with the Eagles and is the franchise all-time leading rusher.
— Josh Reed (@4JoshReed) October 9, 2018
The report from Josh Reed cites that the team ‘reached out’ and inquired about trading for Shady, but just how much weight does it carry and how likely is a move to happen?
Having battled a rib injury through the opening quarter of the season, McCoy finally flashed the running back of old in week 5, thrashing the Titans for 85 yards on 24 attempts. Through the opening four weeks, McCoy had 29 touches combined and in week 5 it was safe to say his quick-cutting style broke out in explosive fashion against a defense that refused to let up.
By now, we all know the type of player that LeSean McCoy would be. The Eagles’ all-time leading rusher has left fans in awe since the moment he entered the league. Prior to this season, Shady posted back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons as well as consecutive campaigns of at least 300 receiving yards. Even at age 30, McCoy can still turn the tide of a game in a heartbeat and that may be the most terrifying thing of all. Arguably past his prime McCoy is proving that he still has some rubber left on those tires and he insists on setting the tarmac alight until further notice.
The fit in Philadelphia is like a hand into a glove. McCoy was drafted by the Eagles in 2009 and remains the highest drafted running back by the team in the last 11 years. Shady spent six years in the City of Brotherly Love, with four of those coming under Andy Reid, who as we all know, helped Doug Pederson’s rise to an NFL head Coach. The offenses ran by Reid and Pederson certainly have their similarities, as do Pederson’s and Chip Kelly’s, who McCoy rushed for 2,900 yards under in just two seasons.
McCoy’s football IQ is one thing, but his rapid decision making is still supported by a juke move that is almost as quick. McCoy would be absolutely lethal as a back who can cut you open through the trenches, has the initial burst to get outside on zonal looks as well as the awareness of when to cut inside. Not only that, but his versatility as a receiver could be a huge bonus for Carson Wentz, giving him another weapon out of the backfield.
Unlike Le’Veon Bell, who would cost a cringing $9.4M, McCoy would only cost the Eagles $4.28M in cap space and what’s even better is that he’s under contract through 2019, giving the team one full season with a back who is certain to go down in their hall of fame and opening the opportunity for one last prove-it contract.
The problem here is that the Eagles are still the team on the back foot, desperately scrapping to find more than just depth. Ajayi is out for the year, Sproles and Clement have both missed considerable time and both Smallwood and Adams have been susceptible to injury also. Because of this, the Bills, in a trade scenario, would have all of the momentum in the world.
So what would it take to attain McCoy?
It’s hard to say, but a 2nd-3rd round pick and a depth player would be the most likely scenario. The Bills do need some offensive line depth and the Eagles may have been pushed to a point that they view at least one of those players as expendable? Could someone such as Chance Warmack step in as a backup behind Ryan Groy, who remains the sole left guard on the team? The idea of trading Wisniewski after the benching appears a little more enticing, it’s not the first time Wis has felt disrespected by the team either. A chance at a new start and a pick in exchange for a Philadelphia hero returning home? Who says no?
As aforementioned, McCoy is coming off of a rib injury that’s really pushed this trade into the realm of possibility. The Bills at least found some sustenance in Chris Ivory and it’s not like Marcus Murphy has underwhelmed either. Shady has missed at least one game in three of his last four season’s, but is actually one of the more durable backs in the league. A minor setback may be enough for the Eagles to take a flyer on, after all, they did the same with Jordan Matthews.
There were some very strong allegations surrounding McCoy however with regards to domestic abuse. As of right now, all seems quiet on the western front, but he could face potential pushback from the NFL for violating a number of their policies. If the Eagles are going to spend $4M on a running back, they need to be sure the carpet won’t be ripped from under them.
According to numerous reports, the Eagles actually tried to trade for McCoy last year too! It’s clear that there’s some unfinished business with McCoy and the Eagles after the two were unfairly separated, but is now the time to reunite?
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports