Tim Graham: ‘Relief For The Eagles’

In a stunning move, the Philadelphia Eagles have traded LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Since being drafted 53rd overall in 2009, McCoy has the third-most rushing yards (6,792) and the fourth-most rushing touchdowns (44) in the NFL. A Harrisburg, Penn., native, McCoy played high school ball at Bishop McDevitt, played college ball at Pitt and spent the first six years of his NFL career with Philadelphia. This marks the first time in his life that he will play football for a team not based in Pennsylvania.

Alonso, meanwhile, was drafted 46th overall by the Bills in 2013. He played college ball at Oregon and will be reunited with former Ducks coach Chip Kelly.

Wow.

What do we make of this blockbuster deal?

“I thought, ‘What a stunner,’ and then I thought, ‘Man, that makes a lot of sense,’” Buffalo News Bills reporter Tim Graham said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “And it’s one of those things (that) had I written about it two days ago or proposed it – people like to throw out trade ideas all the time – and I think that educated NFL people . . . or hardcore NFL fans . . . would have laughed about it. They would have said, ‘There’s no way that trade’s happening.’ And I think a lot of that comes from the fact that NFL trades just don’t happen, and they generally don’t happen involving Pro Bowl-caliber players.

“I think Bills fans would look at it and say, ‘Why would we want to give up this guy? We love him,’” Graham continued. “Eagles fans would say, ‘Why would we want to give up this guy? We love him.’ But the Bills have a lot of linebacker depth, they need a running back badly, they’re coming off their worst rushing season since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule, and they had a linebacker to give.”

Oh, and the Eagles needed to dump salary.

“LeSean McCoy is about $12 million against the cap, so this is relief for (the Eagles),” Graham said. “And I think anybody who plays fantasy football knows that LeSean McCoy had a dip – a significant dip – in his stats.”

McCoy, 26, rushed 312 times for 1,319 yards and five touchdowns last season. In 2013, he rushed 314 times for 1,607 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s almost half as many touchdowns and almost a full yard per carry less – despite receiving an almost identical number of carries.

McCoy’s receiving numbers decreased as well. He caught just 28 passes for 155 yards and zero touchdowns last season – as compared to 52 catches for 539 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. In fact, over his previous four seasons, McCoy averaged 58 catches for 454.8 yards.

That changed last year – perhaps by design. Darren Sproles had 40 catches for 387 yards

“The Eagles have gotten away from (McCoy) in the passing game and have gone towards Darren Sproles,” Graham said. “So they had a guy they felt like they could do without. The Bills had a guy that they felt they could do without. And (both) look much better on their respective new teams.”

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