The man known as "Shady" will be teaming up with Rex Ryan in Buffalo. Photo via USA Today Sports
Well, it didn't take long for Rex Ryan to make a big splash with the Bills.
Filed to ESPN: Bills have notified LB Kiko Alonso he is going to be traded to Philadelphia for RB LeSean McCoy. Trade official next week.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 3, 2015
No trades can become official until the new league year begins March 10th, when the trade will reportedly be a straight player-for-player swap. For the Bills, they'll acquire a two-top first team All Pro just a season removed from leading the league in rushing. Meanwhile, the Eagles land Alonso, the 2013 defensive rookie of the year, and will be banking on a strong comeback season after Alonso missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL.
The Eagles were not comfortable with McCoy's $11.95 million cap hit (second in the league amongst running backs), and were reportedly considering outright releasing the star runner if they couldn't find a trade for him. By trading McCoy and releasing veterans Cary Williams and Trent Cole, the Eagles opened up $31.75 million in cap space yesterday. The acquisition of Alonso likely means linebacker DeMeco Ryan will soon join them on the free agent market, opening up another $6.9 million in room.
The explosive McCoy fills a huge need for the Bills, who were expected to lose running back CJ Spiller to free agency. Instead, McCoy instantly becomes the bell-cow back for new offensive coordinator Greg Roman's run-heavy scheme, something sure to take a lot of pressure off of whoever winds up under center for the Bills.
A source close to LeSean McCoy on how the Eagles
RB feels about news of an agreement to trade him to Buffalo: "He’s a
Pennsylvania kid. He’s never played football outside of
Pennsylvania—high school, college, pro. So of course he's not happy.
Sounds like it’s pretty final to me unless LeSean is refusing to go to
According to NFL Network analyst LaDanian Tomlinson, McCoy suspected he would not be back in Philly weeks ago. The star runner reportedly also told LT that he thought Kelly phased him out of the offense at times last year (a laughable claim, considering McCoy was one of only two backs in football with 300+ carries last year).
McCoy's agent, the notorious Drew Rosenhaus, also cautioned that nothing has been finalized but that's a given, considering the deal cannot become official until 4 pm on Tuesday and was reportedly made in about 20 minutes. Regardless of McCoy's preferences, he really does not have much of a say in the matter. His only hope at this point is that the Bills pull out of the deal before Tuesday due to his reported unhappiness, but there's about as much of a chance of that as they are of Rex turning down a goddamned snack.
Meanwhile, Alonso becomes the ninth Oregon Duck on the Eagles roster, all of whom played for Eagles head coach Chip Kelly at some point during his tenure. His ability in coverage makes him an excellent fit for the Eagles defense, where he'll join Mychal Kendricks to form a terrific duo in the middle. With two years remaining on his rookie deal from 2013, he represents a significant bargain cap wise: due base salaries of just $745,946 in 2015 and $941,418 in 2016.
As good as Alonso was in his rookie year, he was made expendable in Buffalo after Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown both stepped up with impressive years in his absence. Alonso was also reportedly unhappy with a potential position change to the weakside in Rex Ryan's defense. His departure merely increases the likelihood that Rex makes a run at free agent linebacker David Harris, a mainstay from Rex's Jets tenure.
Who do you think won this blockbuster? Feel free to chime in below in the comments section.