LeSean McCoy

Eagles Tried To Trade For LeSean McCoy

Under Chip Kelly‘s watch, the Eagles shipped star LeSean McCoy to the Bills. After Kelly was canned, top exec Howie Roseman tried to bring him back to the nest. Roseman tried to reacquire McCoy in a trade with Buffalo after Kelly was fired “through back-channel intermediaries,” according to sources who spoke with Manish Mehta of the Daily NewsLeSean McCoy

The Eagles pitched one package including wide receiver Jordan Matthews, according to Mehta. Of course, Matthews later wound up in Buffalo in a different deal last summer that brought cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles.

A McCoy return would have delighted the Philadelphia faithful, but things worked out just fine for the Eagles in the long run. During the season, Roseman swung a surprising pre-deadline deal for Dolphins runner Jay Ajayi, who has provided the Eagles with some much-needed athleticism out of the backfield. On Sunday, the Eagles will have the opportunity to win their first ever Super Bowl, thanks in part to his presence.

McCoy didn’t have the best season in 2014, but he was still productive for Philadelphia at the time of the trade with 1,319 rushing yards and a 4.2 YPC average in that season. In 2013, McCoy was rated as the very best tailback in football according to Pro Football Focus. In his three seasons with Buffalo, McCoy has averaged 4.6 yards per carry and has averaged 1,200+ yards per 16 games. Kelly anticipated that McCoy would fall off by now, but he remains one of the league’s most lethal running backs.

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Bills WR Jordan Matthews To Miss Time

Bills wide receiver Jordan Matthews is expected to undergo thumb surgery and will miss at least one month of action, according to Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 (Twitter link).Jordan Matthews (Vertical)

Matthews, whom Buffalo acquired (along with a third-round pick) in an August trade in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby, had been serving as the Bills’ de facto No. 1 wideout, although he is actually third in receptions behind running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay. On 13 targets, the 25-year-old Matthews has managed 10 catches for 162 yards and one touchdown for the surprisingly 3-1 Bills. Playing in his contract season, Matthews is scheduled to become a free agent next spring.

Given that the Bills were already fielding one of the NFL’s worst receiving corps before the Matthews injury, the club will likely lean on the run game even more heavily than it had in Weeks 1-4. Buffalo has thrown the ball at a lower rate than any other team in the league thus far (just 45.31% of plays), and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that percentage dip even further.

Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, and Kaelin Clay will likely see more targets with Matthews sidelined, while the Bills could also promote either Malachi Dupre or Brandon Reilly from their practice squad. A free agent addition probably doesn’t make sense given that Matthews will return later this year, but Anquan Boldin is still available after retiring from the Bills just before the season began. The veteran pass-catcher has ruled out a late-season return, however.

Matthews wasn’t the only Buffalo player to go down on Sunday, as linebacker Ramon Humber suffered a broken thumb and will miss time, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Humber, who has never been a full-time starter during his nine-plus-year NFL career, had played on nearly 95% of the Bills’ defensive snaps to this point and graded as the league’s No. 33 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus. Matt Milano is likely to step into the starting lineup, while Deon Lacey and Tanner Vallejo could also see increased usage.

Bills Add Incentives To LeSean McCoy’s Deal

The Bills have added $2.5MM worth of incentives to running back LeSean McCoy‘s contract, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).LeSean McCoy (Vertical)

While there’s no word as to how McCoy can reach that new incentive threshold, the extra funds are likely tied to rushing yards and/or rushing touchdowns. McCoy, 29, is scheduled to earn base salaries of $6MM, $6.075MM, and $6.175MM over the next three campaigns before becoming a free agent in 2020. Poised to be the focal point of Buffalo’s offense once again next season, McCoy averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2017 while posting 14 total touchdowns.

The Bills, of course, have traded away several assets this year, shipping wide receiver Sammy Watkins to Los Angeles and cornerback Ronald Darby to Philadelphia. However, general manager Brandon Beane has been adamant that Buffalo has no plans to shop McCoy.

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Bills Confirm They Won’t Trade McCoy

After trading two players who were among the best on their roster in wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby earlier this month, the Bills look like a team in the midst of a rebuild. As such, speculation that the Bills could shop their top player, 29-year-old running back LeSean McCoy, has come to the fore recently. That reportedly isn’t going to happen, though, and McCoy said Thursday that general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have told him as much.

LeSean McCoy

“There’s no trade talks,” McCoy informed reporters, including Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. “I talked to my coaches. I talked to Sean and Brandon, the GM. I have a lot of respect for the guys. We had a great conversation. I’ll leave it at that. One thing about it is everybody can have their own opinions or make up things. Nowadays with social media, everything is blown out of proportion.”

The Bills have gone just 15-17 since acquiring McCoy from the Eagles in March 2015 and, thanks in part to their recent future-oriented trades and the abrupt retirement of Anquan Boldin, look like shoo-ins to miss the playoffs for an NFL-worst 18th straight year in 2017. But McCoy insisted Thursday that the team is aiming to contend this season, and that he’s content to remain in Buffalo.

“They’re all in to win,” he said. “We’re a team and that’s what we’re trying to do. I feel like I’m one of the key guys here. I don’t want to leave. Buffalo embraced me with open arms and they took me in.”

A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro in Philadelphia, McCoy has remained a premier weapon with the long-struggling Bills. He made his second Pro Bowl in as many years in Buffalo last season, when he ranked third in the NFL in yards per carry (5.4) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (13) during a 234-attempt, 1,267-yard campaign. He also amassed 50 receptions, giving him at least that many in a season for the fourth time in his nine-year career.

It’s apparent McCoy’s 10th season will be spent in Buffalo, which can control him through the 2019 campaign on the five-year, $40.05MM deal it awarded him in 2015. He had been the league’s highest-paid back on a multiyear deal until the Falcons’ Devonta Freeman inked a five-year, $41.25MM extension earlier this month.

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Bills Not Shopping LeSean McCoy

The Bills are not shopping running back LeSean McCoy and have no intention of doing so, sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.LeSean McCoy (Vertical)

On its face, a McCoy trade could make sense for a Buffalo club that looks to be on the verge of a rebuild (if it isn’t already there). The Bills, of course, dealt wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby earlier this month, and while general manager Brandon Beane received veterans in those deals (Jordan Matthews and E.J. Gaines), the clear impetus behind the moves was draft capital. Buffalo picked up a 2018 second-round pick in the Watkins trade, and a 2018 third-rounder in the Darby swap.

McCoy, then, doesn’t particularly fit in with the Bills’ current direction, especially given his age (he turned 29 in July) and his salary. Signed through 2019, McCoy is currently the league’s second-highest-paid running back on a multi-year deal, trailing only Devonta Freeman. If McCoy was traded, Buffalo would pick up $6.25MM in 2017 cap space, with $2.625MM and $5.25MM in dead money accruing on the team’s salary cap in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Clearing cap space wouldn’t be the primary goal in a McCoy deal, however — instead, the Bills would be aiming to acquire some sort of draft pick compensation for a still-productive running back. Last season, McCoy appeared in 15 games and topped 1,000 rushing for the fifth time in his career while scoring 13 times on the ground. He also added 50 receptions (his highest total since 2013) for 356 yards and one more score.

The Bills don’t have an excessive amount of depth behind at running back behind McCoy, though, and 2016 fifth-round selection Jonathan Williams would likely become the primary beneficiary of a McCoy trade. Veterans Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard, and Taiwan Jones are also on the Buffalo roster, but none have experience as a lead back.

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Reactions From Bills’ Two-Trade Day

The Bills reshaped their team and 2018 draft with two trades on Friday afternoon. Buffalo unloaded Sammy Watkins to the Rams for E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick. The Bills then shipped Ronald Darby to the Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third-rounder. Here’s the latest fallout from these deals.

  • Eagles GM Howie Roseman said the team didn’t shop Matthews but acknowledged the fourth-year wideout being in trade rumors since March accelerated the actual trade. Roseman, per Zach Berman of Philly.com (on Twitter) said when trade rumors are out there, “people call.” Roseman added Darby — a 2015 second-round pick — having two years left on his rookie contract cemented the deal for the Eagles. “The big factor for us was we weren’t getting a free agent back, too,” Roseman said (via Berman, on Twitter). “We wouldn’t have done the trade if a player had one year left.”
  • A perpetual injury risk, Watkins seeing another team take a chance on him in a contract year indicates belief he can stay healthy, ESPN.com’s Stephania Bell tweets. Bell adds a member of the Bills medical staff is now with the Rams. Watkins missed eight games last season and three in 2015. He played in all 16 games as a rookie.
  • ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano picked up a vibe while visiting Eagles camp the team was worried about their cornerbacks, and he notes the team is high on 2015 first-round wideout Nelson Agholor as a late-blooming talent. Although, he added the caveat of Agholor’s camp emergence could partially be due to Philly’s substandard corner situation. Graziano adds the Bills were worried about being too young at corner as well. Buffalo has overhauled its cornerback corps this offseason, cutting Nickell Robey-Coleman, letting Stephon Gilmore defect to New England and now trading Darby. The Bills added Shareece Wright, Tre’Davious White, Leonard Johnson and now Gaines. Darby is the latest Bills corner to join the Eagles, following Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks. Graziano notes Darby is a higher-ceiling talent than anyone the Eagles previously had.
  • Graziano added Jordan Matthews not receiving a contract extension so many of his teammates did recently was a bad sign for his future in Philly. Berman points out (via Twitter) Alshon Jeffery is the receiver the Eagles will try to keep long-term. Jeffery signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in March. A Matthews re-up may have gotten in the way of that for an Eagles team that’s seen the aforementioned extensions tie up its 2018 cap for the time being. The Eagles as of now are projected to have just $1MM in 2018 space.
  • The Rams were the only team to not receive a cornerback in these trades, but Wade Phillips is confident in his group. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) that means Kayvon Webster as well. The 2013 third-round pick’s a bit of an enigma in being buried behind Denver’s dominant trio for three seasons, but he’s in line to start in Los Angeles now. Robey-Coleman and Webster are now the top two candidates to play opposite Trumaine Johnson.
  • LeSean McCoy weighed in on the deal and praised his outgoing teammate while tabbing Matthews — his teammate in Philly for a year — as an inferior receiver to Watkins. “If you compare the two, it’s obvious you can agree who is better,” the Bills running back said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. McCoy added (via Rodak) he can relate to Watkins being traded for a player who he’s “probably better than” from the Eagles-Bills 2015 swap of McCoy and Kiko Alonso.
  • Watkins was due a $2.4MM bonus last week, according to OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald (on Twitter). He notes unless there was an unreported adjustment in the contract, the bonus was the Bills’, and not the Rams’, responsibility.

LeSean McCoy Recruiting Jeremy Maclin

LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin were teammates with the Eagles from 2009-14, and McCoy would like to reunite with the newly free agent wide receiver. McCoy is recruiting Maclin to sign with the Bills, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.Jeremy Maclin (Vertical)

“I know he could help us out tremendously,” McCoy said. “I’ve been doing my recruiting already, and don’t be surprised if it happens. That would be cool to have another weapon on the offense. But you never know. A lot of things would have to work out for that to happen. You know how the business goes.”

While McCoy was clear that he has no inside information on Buffalo’s plans, a Maclin addition would make sense for the club. Sammy Watkins is the Bills’ No. 1 wideout, but he’s had problems staying healthy, and second-round pick Zay Jones will be making the transition from East Carolina to the NFL. Other wide receivers on Buffalo’s depth chart include Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, and Corey Brown, so the team could certainly use a veteran presence like Maclin.

McCoy isn’t the only Bills offensive player who plans to speak with Maclin, as quarterback Tyrod Taylor told Rodak he’ll reach out to the former Chiefs wide receiver and lobby Buffalo coaches about Maclin. “Would love to have a guy like him on our team competing and coming out and making plays for us,” Taylor said. “Especially means a lot to our wide receiver room, putting another veteran guy with a whole bunch of talent and still potential left to reach his best. I would love to have him.”

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Latest On Bills, LeSean McCoy

Bills running back LeSean McCoy raised some eyebrows when he skipped the first day of the Bills’ offseason program. It’s still not clear why he wasn’t in the building, but his absence was not related to any kind of contract holdout, a source tells Mike Florio of PFTLeSean McCoy (Vertical)

This year, McCoy is slated to earn a base salary of $6MM plus nearly $3MM in prorated bonuses and workout incentives. However, his base salary is not guaranteed, so his absence from the team’s voluntary practice led to some speculation that he was pushing for a revised contract. McCoy might have been away from the team to celebrate his son’s fifth birthday or for some other reason, but he apparently wasn’t trying to drum up leverage for a new deal.

So far, new coach Sean McDermott has been publicly enthusiastic about working with Shady.

LeSean is going to be with the Buffalo Bills moving forward,” McDermott said in early March. “He’s a great player. We worked together in Philadelphia and when you look at the skill set LeSean brings to the table, we’re excited to be working with him.”

McCoy is scheduled to be under contract with Buffalo through 2019.

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Bills Intend To Keep RB LeSean McCoy

Even though he might have the highest cap hit of any running back in 2017, it doesn’t sound like the Bills want to move on from LeSean McCoy. New coach Sean McDermott thinks highly of the veteran and says he’s looking forward to working together in a new city. LeSean McCoy

LeSean is going to be with the Buffalo Bills moving forward,” McDermott said (via PFT). “He’s a great player. We worked together in Philadelphia and when you look at the skill set LeSean brings to the table, we’re excited to be working with him.”

This week, agent Drew Rosenhaus said that he has had any discussions with Buffalo about the team possibly moving on from McCoy. It appears he was telling the truth. McCoy might be approaching the age where running backs tend to slow down, but he is coming off one of his best campaigns to date and he is a proven difference-maker. In 2016, he amassed 1,623 total yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 14 touchdowns, and 50 receptions.

McCoy is due to count $8.875MM against the cap in 2017 and will turn 29 in July. In theory, the Bills could have dropped McCoy and given the starting job to understudy Mike Gillislee, but the Florida product will have to wait a bit longer before getting his shot at a starting job.

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AFC Notes: Bills, Pats, Bolts, Jets, Chiefs

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk speculated over the weekend that the Bills could cut running back LeSean McCoy, but the five-time Pro Bowler’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, shot down that possibility Tuesday. Rosenhaus told PFT that he hasn’t had any discussions with the Bills about moving on from McCoy. Moreover, he expects the two-year Bill to remain in Buffalo for “many years to come” (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). McCoy is coming off one of his best campaigns – 1,623 total yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 14 touchdowns and 50 receptions – and is due to count $8.875MM against the cap in 2017, his age-29 season.

More from the AFC:

  • As a result of his 120-day jail sentence for Extreme DUI, Patriots wide receiver Michael Floyd won’t be able to leave the state of Arizona until at least June 17. Thus, it’s unlikely the impending free agent will sign anywhere until the summer, writes Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. Although he was a healthy scratch for Super Bowl LI and could face a suspension to begin next season, the Pats have interest in re-signing Floyd.
  • The Chargers are adding LaDainian Tomlinson to their front office, Fred Roggin of NBC Los Angeles tweets. It’s unclear what Tomlinson will do in his new position, but he was resoundingly success in his previous job with the Chargers, of course. The longtime running back is among the greatest Bolts (and players) of all-time, having made five Pro Bowls and taken home an MVP as a member of the club from 2001-09. Tomlinson only rushed for fewer than 1,100 yards in one of those seasons, and he combined for 169 touchdowns as a runner, receiver and passer.
  • The Jets have hired longtime NFL defensive lineman La’Roi Glover as their assistant D-line coach, per Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday. Glover, 42, spent the past seven years as the director of player engagement with the Rams. Previously, as a member of the Raiders, Saints, Cowboys and Rams from 1996-2008, he combined for 83.5 sacks, six Pro Bowl appearances and four first-team All-Pro nods.
  • C.J. Spiller‘s deal with the Chiefs is a one-year, $980K pact, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll earn a $55K bonus if he’s on the 53-man roster in Week 1.

Zach Links contributed to this post.