With the heart stopping news that running back LeSean McCoy will reportedly be traded to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, fans took to social media with utter shock. Some were in favor, while others opposed. Here’s why the deal makes sense for the Eagles, and sets up for an offseason more dramatic than the final seasons of Breaking Bad.
In the foreground is the acquisition of linebacker Kiko Alonso, a player who dominated the NFL in 2013. Alonso was in Pro Bowl consideration in that season (his first in the NFL), having forced two fumbles and picked off four passes, while also making 87 tackles. Alonso will undoubtedly line up next to rising star Mychal Kendricks next season, and shore up the spine of the defense for years to come.
After releasing guard Todd Herremans, cornerback Cary Williams, and linebacker Trent Cole (reportedly), the Eagles will likely cut DeMeco Ryans in the coming days. With Alonso ready to start at linebacker, Ryans will no longer be needed, and can be let go to save further cap space that the Eagles can use in free agency.
With the departure of McCoy, the Eagles save around $10 million in cap space. They are around $50 million to spend in arguably one of the strongest free agency classes in recent memory. The defensive holes that exist on the Eagles may not exist much longer, as Kelly and Marynowitz will pull out all the stops to target big name players like Byron Maxwell, Jason Worlds, and Devin McCourty. The difference this year from the “Dream Team” is that this regime has proven that it invests in players entering their prime, just coming off their rookie contracts. This way, the Eagles will not be wasting money on declining veterans. With cap space to fill, the Eagles will be spending money like it grows on trees in the coming month.
The trade, and the expected signings, will allow the Eagles to send their draft picks to trade up for Marcus Mariota. The team will no longer need to fill holes with rookies, because they will have taken care of the issues with young veterans. The Eagles will likely use one of those draft picks to replace McCoy at running back, or use it as trade bait to acquire a player like CJ Spiller—a guy who the Eagles tried to trade for in the past—to take McCoy’s carries.
This will unequivocally be the greatest and most dramatic offseason in Eagles history. Sure, fans will give McCoy a standing ovation when the Bills visit Philadelphia. Obviously, Kiko Alonso’s injury history is a cause for concern. Of course, the Eagles will miss having McCoy as the face of the franchise. Obviously, the departure of veterans like McCoy, Cole, and Herremans will rip a piece of fans’ hearts out. But for fifty years, the Eagles sat in the pool of losers while someone else won the Lombardi Trophy. As Al Morganti stated in the Great Birds Debate, “If you’re not gonna take a risk, go sit in your damn bedroom and watch some other team go win something.” The Eagles may finally have found a guy in Kelly who won’t sit in his bedroom. After the firestorm on social media, for his own sake, Chip Kelly better go win something.