Trade for Eagles: I’m probably going against the grain with this, but I love this deal. People are wondering who will replace McCoy. Well, it’s a deep running back draft and a deep running back free agency class. It’s going to be tough to find someone to replace McCoy’s 2013 production, when he rushed for 1607 yards and 9 touchdowns on 314 carries (5.12 YPC) and added 52 catches for 539 yards and another two touchdowns. It’s not going to be that tough to find someone to replace McCoy’s 2014 production, when he rushed for 1319 yards and 5 touchdowns on 312 carries (4.23 YPC) and added just 28 catches for 155 yards.
McCoy could bounce back in 2015, but there’s evidence to suggest he won’t. He’s only graded out higher than 10th among running backs on Pro Football Focus once in 6 years in the league (2013) and he’s going into his age 27 season with 1761 touches at a position that doesn’t have a long lifespan. He’s a good, not great running back in a league where running backs rarely get the kind of money McCoy is still owed over the next 3 seasons (24.25 million).
Kiko Alonso, meanwhile, is owed just 1.7 million over the next 2 seasons on his rookie deal. Like McCoy, he had a strong 2013 that he didn’t replicate in 2014. Alonso graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 9th ranked middle linebacker in 2013, but missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL. However, I like his chances of bouncing back more than McCoy because he’s only going into his age 25 season at a position with a much longer lifespan. A torn ACL is hard to recover from, but Alonso suffered that injury back in June of 2014 and has youth on his side.
He’ll be an obvious upgrade over DeMeco Ryans, who graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 53rd ranked middle linebacker out of 55 eligible in 2013, before missing 8 games with a torn Achilles in 2014. He and Mychal Kendricks will be a strong, young middle linebacker duo for the Eagles inside. The Eagles also will save 6.9 million on the cap by letting Ryans go. Between that and the 8.55 million they saved from trading McCoy, this move saves them about 15 million on the cap (Alonso’s cap number for the Eagles will be about 750K this season). That’s a significant amount for a team that figures to be major players in free agency. This move could allow them to add someone like Devin McCourty to their secondary and have cap room left over.
Trade for Bills: I don’t hate this deal for the Bills as much as I love it for the Eagles. The reason for that is that Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham both broke out as every down linebackers for the Bills in 2014 in Alonso’s absence and they could still re-sign Brandon Spikes, a solid two-down run stopper. However, you still don’t trade a younger, cheaper player for an older, more expensive player, at a position with a shorter careerspan. I would have liked to see the Bills pick up some sort of draft pick in this deal. I’m not sure McCoy would have gotten 24.25 million over 3 years on the open market if he was a free agent this off-season. The Bills are giving up that and a talented young linebacker for him. It’s not a good deal.