Given the Bills’ apparent willingness to trade talent for draft picks, is an Eagles reunion with running back LeSean McCoy a possibility?
Such speculation is quickly becoming the talk of the town, despite the absence of any credible reports the Bills are shopping McCoy – or the Eagles are asking. Then again, it isn’t difficult to connect the dots on this rumor.
Recent moves suggest the Bills are already waving the white flag on 2017. Buffalo sent wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Rams and cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles last week, and while those swaps brought back players as well, the keys to those deals were the picks. The Bills obtained cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round choice for Watkins, and wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round selection for Darby.
Buffalo has clearly entered rebuilding mode, and would no doubt listen to offers for anybody and anything that’s not nailed down. That includes McCoy, who doesn’t sound too thrilled anyway about spending the end of his prime with a team that’s borderline tanking.
Meanwhile, the Eagles’ running back situation is far from settled. We touched on that in some detail. In summary, LeGarrette Blount’s preseason exposed his shortcomings, Wendell Smallwood has yet to play in an exhibition game this summer, and Darren Sproles isn’t an every-down back. Though it certainly could all work out, right now, there’s cause for concern.
McCoy would alleviate those concerns in an instant. The five-time Pro Bowl selection is coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns, so he can still ball. There’s no question as to fit, either – McCoy became the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher in 2014, largely in an offensive scheme almost identical to that under current coach Doug Pederson.
In fact, McCoy never wanted to leave the Eagles in the first place. He was traded to Buffalo by the previous regime. It’s likely he would welcome the opportunity to come back and play for a team with the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Carson Wentz.
Here comes the downside.
Would the Eagles be as quick to welcome McCoy back? He’s 29 years old, and though he’s shown no signs of slowing down, decline is right around the corner. And what do the Eagles have to trade for an aging running back? The club has already dealt its second- and third-round picks in 2018 in the Wentz and Darby deals, respectively. Will they dip into their stash of 2019 choices, or send a No. 1?
McCoy won’t come cheap, either. The Bills would have to eat nearly $8 million in bonus money in a trade, for starters. And if they were able to swing a third-round pick for Darby with two years left on his contract, and a second for Watkins with one year left, what can they leverage for one of the top five backs in the NFL with three years remaining on his deal? For all we know, it might take a No. 1.
The Bills might be rebuilding, but they certainly aren’t giving these guys away.
There’s no question McCoy can be had for a price. And even if a platoon with Blount, Smallwood and Sproles works out just fine, McCoy would be better.
But at what cost? Probably not one the Eagles are willing to pay. Not with McCoy’s 30th birthday approaching next year. Not with the stock of draft picks already depleted. Not with so many options already on the roster.
McCoy rumors are good fodder for talk radio and blogs. A trade would improve the Eagles’ outlook tremendously for 2017, and possibly beyond. As far as practicality is concerned, however, such a thought is probably more fantasy than reality.
Rating: We can dream…