LeSean McCoy

South Notes: Texans, Titans, Bucs, Terrell

Bill O’Brien‘s final weeks with the Texans were trying, with the team going 0-4 and the former head coach-GM’s near-universally panned DeAndre Hopkins trade benefitting the Cardinals early. But the since-fired HC also was involved in some internal turmoil, with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reporting O’Brien engaged in heated disputes with J.J. Watt and first-year defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver at a recent practice (Twitter link). O’Brien also verbally sparred with other staffers in his final weeks, per Wilson. That can be expected given the Texans’ start, but the Watt argument may have been a tipping point. The dispute with Watt — arguably the defining player in Texans history — resulted in O’Brien losing the team, in the view of one source (via ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini). The O’Brien-Watt argument took place days before the Texans’ loss to the Steelers.

Here is the latest from the South divisions, moving first to more Titans news:

  • At least three separate Titans offsite workouts took place last week over a multiday period, veteran NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky notes. A group that included Ryan Tannehill was spotted working out Sept. 30 at Montgomery Bell Academy, an area high school, while Kuharsky reports a different group — comprised of defensive backs — worked out at a park near Belmont University that day. Multiple workouts took place at the park near Belmont, per Kuharsky, who adds that Mike Vrabel said during an Oct. 1 Zoom call he told players not to conduct offsite workouts. The NFL is now investigating the Titans for this, and punishment for the coronavirus-stricken team could be severe. Tight end MyCole Pruitt, one of the Titans’ positive testers, was not at the offsite workouts, per Titaninsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter).
  • Prior to the Titans being barred from their headquarters, the NFL showed images of players and staffers walking around the team’s facility without masks, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Aside from players during workouts, team personnel are required to wear masks inside team facilities. Twenty-three Titans players and staffers have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Good news for the Falcons on the virus front. First-round cornerback A.J. Terrell returned to practice this week, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets. Terrell missed Atlanta’s past two games after being placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list just before the Falcons’ Week 3 game.
  • For the sect of non-Chris Godwin fantasy managers who might have missed this (and the narrower swath of LeSean McCoy deep-league GMs), both Buccaneers will miss Thursday night’s game against the Bears. The Bucs declared Godwin and Shady out. This marks Godwin’s third missed game this season; he is battling a hamstring injury. Mike Evans, however, will play, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Evans was a game-time decision because of an ankle injury.
  • Eli Apple is set to miss more time. After successfully rehabbing one hamstring injury, the Panthers cornerback has encountered another. Matt Rhule said the recent acquisition pulled his other hamstring, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Apple missed Carolina’s first three games because of his initial hamstring injury. He has played just six snaps (all on special teams) this season.

Buccaneers Sign RB Leonard Fournette

The Bucs got their man. Shortly after it was reported that Tampa was pursuing former Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette, the Bucs agreed to terms with the 2017 first-rounder, per Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Grant Gordon of NFL.com).

It will be a one-year deal worth up to $3.5MM. Fournette will take home a base salary of $2MM and will have the chance to earn an extra $1.5MM in incentives based on rushing yards and playing time. Plus, since Fournette’s deal with the Jags did not include offset language, he could still pocket the $4.2MM that he was due to earn this year prior to being waived by Jacksonville if he wins his grievance against his former club.

Tampa was said to be interested in Fournette earlier this year and reportedly engaged in trade talks with Jacksonville. Ultimately, the Bucs were able to acquire him without sacrificing any draft capital, but their RB room has become pretty crowded. In addition to incumbent Ronald Jones, Tampa added Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Raymond Calais in the draft and signed veteran LeSean McCoy in July.

Prior to the Fournette signing, the team continued to tout Jones as its RB1, but Fournette is clearly the better back, even if he hasn’t quite lived up to his status as a former No. 4 overall pick. And since McCoy was signed for the veteran minimum, some have speculated that the Bucs could release him, though Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says that Shady remains in the team’s plans (Twitter link). Fournette did pick up 76 receptions out of the backfield last year, but he may see most of his work on first and second downs while McCoy becomes a third-down/passing game complement.

Fournette added 265 carries for 1,152 yards in 2019, good for a career-high 4.3 yards-per-carry average. He now has a prime opportunity to truly break out in what is shaping up to be a prolific offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers To Sign LeSean McCoy

The Buccaneers are making a big move at running back. They will bring in LeSean McCoy, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That works out to $1.05MM for a 12th-year player.

Bruce Arians confirmed the team was interested in Devonta Freeman earlier this offseason but said the ex-Falcon’s price tag was too high. The Bucs went in a different direction, signing the former All-Pro to work with Ronald Jones and third-round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn. With the pandemic nixing the onsite work and the preseason, it makes sense for the Bucs to bring in a veteran Jones complement while Vaughn develops.

McCoy said recently he had spoken to multiple teams and wanted to land with a contender. Considering the Bucs’ new profile after their Tom Brady signing, they certainly qualify. One of the other teams McCoy spoke with was indeed the Eagles, per Rapoport (on Twitter). The Eagles were interested in a reunion, but given McCoy’s league-minimum Bucs pact, it is unclear if an offer came.

Although the Chiefs made McCoy a healthy scratch in Super Bowl LIV, he showed flashes during the regular season. Shady averaged 4.6 yards per carry, bouncing back from a 3.2-YPC season in an undermanned Bills offense in 2018, and scored five touchdowns during his one-year Andy Reid reunion.

After collecting his first Super Bowl ring, the six-time Pro Bowler will join another team with Super Bowl aspirations. The Bucs have now added future Hall of Famers Brady and Rob Gronkowski to their offense, and McCoy will have a chance to work on his Canton credentials in Tampa.

The former Eagles and Bills standout wants to become the league’s 17th 12,000-yard rusher. Sitting on 11,071, the 32-year-old runner will likely need at least two seasons to get there. Every retired back who has eclipsed 12,000 is in the Hall of Fame. Rushers who ended their careers between 11,000 and 12,000 — Fred Taylor, Steven Jackson and Corey Dillon — have not been inducted, however.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

LeSean McCoy Has Spoken With Multiple Teams

Eyeing a 12th NFL season, LeSean McCoy said he has spoken to multiple teams. The former All-Pro running back indicated Friday the teams he’s referencing are some of his “favorite teams.”

As a member of the Chiefs, McCoy collected his first Super Bowl ring. Kansas City did not dress McCoy for Super Bowl LIV, however, and drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Round 1. McCoy continuing his career will almost certainly mean leaving Missouri. He would prefer to do so with a contending team.

Right now, just talked to a couple of teams — some of my favorite teams — that I’d think would be a great fit for me,” McCoy said during an NFL Network interview with Mike Garafolo. “But I think the biggest thing is to find the right fit. Find the right fit for me. I think at the point in my career, not just playing football. I want to play for the right team.

“I want to be able to contribute. I want to be able to win another championship. You can’t go from playing with the Chiefs with all that talent and winning a championship to now just trying to play.”

McCoy has been connected to an Eagles return. They are open to that prospect, and multiple acclaimed Eagles have lobbied for this. Missing out on Carlos Hyde while also having pursued Devonta Freeman, the Eagles make sense as a McCoy suitor. The Eagles traded McCoy to the Bills in 2015. Although the Buccaneers have Ronald Jones and third-round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn, their Freeman interest could make them a candidate to add McCoy as well. Not many contenders are in dire need at this position, however.

The former Eagles and Bills Pro Bowler said he wants to surpass 12,000 rushing yards. Currently sitting on 11,071, McCoy would likely need to play at least two more seasons to get there. The 14 retired 12,000-yard rushers are in the Hall of Fame. He ranks 22nd on the all-time rushing list. While the Chiefs went away from McCoy down the stretch, he upped his per-carry average from 3.2 in 2018 to 4.6 last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, McCoy, Cowboys, Prescott

The Eagles have yet to make an offer to LeSean McCoy, but some of his teammates would like to see progress on that front.Wide receiver DeSean Jackson and offensive lineman Lane Johnson have both expressed support for a Shady signing, as Mike Kaye of NJ.com writes.

I want to see it,” Johnson said about the notion of the Birds bringing back McCoy. “You already know how I feel.”

McCoy, 32 in July, could provide veteran support behind Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Then again, he’s not the only notable running back available to the Eagles. After rejecting a one-year, $3MM offer from the Seahawks, Devonta Freeman remains a free agent, though his asking price may have to drop before the Birds get involved.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Some have argued that Dak Prescott isn’t worth the market-resetting contract he’s seeking, but Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com says the Cowboys would have a hard time replacing the quarterback. His argument, in part, centers on the Cowboys’ difficulty in identifying good young QB talent. Before Prescott fell into their laps in 2016, the Cowboys were aggressively targeting Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook, two players who have done little as pros. In 2014, Cowboys brass had to talk Jerry Jones out of chasing Johnny Manziel. Of course, they struck gold with undrafted free agent Tony Romo in 2013, but he was really the discovery of then-quarterbacks coach Sean Payton. Some have gone so far as to say that Andy Dalton could match Prescott’s production, but Barnwell isn’t buying it.
  • New Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith bulked up in advance of his NFL return (via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer). The former Pro Bowler says he “feels great” at 285 pounds, which is roughly 15 pounds heavier than his previous playing weight. In May, the NFL reinstated Smith, clearing the way for him to start fresh in Dallas.
  • The Giants could use an edge rusher, but they won’t make a late run at Jadeveon Clowney.
  • New 49ers tackle Trent Williams says he was legitimately ready and eager to play for the Redskins last season.

Eagles Haven’t Made Offer To RB LeSean McCoy

While the Eagles are reportedly “open to the idea” of bringing back LeSean McCoy, it doesn’t sound like they’ve seriously pursued the veteran running back. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (via Twitter) that Philly hasn’t made an offer to their former Pro Bowler.

However, the Eagles have (or, at least, did) make offers to other veteran running backs. McLane notes that the organization made an offer to Carlos Hyde, who has since signed with the Seahawks. The organization also made an offer to Devonta Freeman, who is currently weighing his options.

We heard last week that there was some mutual interest in an Eagles/McCoy reunion. The running back spent six seasons in Philly between 2009 and 2014, earning three Pro Bowl trips and two First-Team All-Pro nods. Of course, the Eagles wouldn’t be getting that version of McCoy in 2020; despite starting 22 games for the Bills and Chiefs over the past two years, the veteran has only compiled 979 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 262 carries.

On the flip side, the Eagles probably wouldn’t be expecting a whole lot of production out of the 31-year-old (32 in July). Instead, he’ll be a mentor in a relatively young running backs room, a grouping that’s currently led by Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Open To Signing LeSean McCoy

LeSean McCoy wants to fly with the Eagles one more time. The running back remains available in free agency and the Eagles are at least open to the idea, Tim McManus of ESPN.com hears. 

McCoy started his career with the Eagles and mostly excelled in those four seasons. Shady secured three Pro Bowl trips and two First-Team All-Pro nods in Philly before he was traded to Buffalo, where he secured the bag.

Before the start of the 2019 season, the Bills dropped McCoy and the remainder of his five-year, $40MM contract. Then, he hooked on with the Chiefs. He started strong in the first half, but his role was greatly reduced down the stretch. On the whole, it was a bounceback year for the veteran – he averaged 4.6 yards per tote, up from his career low of 3.2 in ’18. He also captured a Super Bowl ring to cap it off.

McCoy isn’t the only veteran RB on the Eagles’ radar. They’re also interested in Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman. Last we heard, the Eagles were pretty much lowballing Hyde, pitching the 1,000-yard rusher a veteran’s minimum deal. They might not be able to land Freeman, either. The Seahawks have offered him a deal worth around $3-4MM, which could be too rich for their blood.

McCoy would likely come at a cheaper rate than Freeman. If he returns to Philly, he’ll join Miles Sanders and Boston Scott in their RB group.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Had Interest In LeSean McCoy

We haven’t heard much about LeSean McCoy‘s market lately, but there have, in fact, been suitors. The Raiders showed interest in Shady before they added Devontae Booker to their running back depth chart, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).

[RELATED: LeSean McCoy Makes His Case To The Eagles]

McCoy “could see” himself with the Eagles, but Howie Roseman & Co. may be more keen on Carlos Hyde, if they can get the 1,000-yard rusher to agree to a dirt-cheap one-year deal. Last year, Hyde averaged 4.4 yards per carry with the Texans, proving that he still has lots left in the tank. McCoy, meanwhile, had a strange up-and-down year with the Super Bowl champs. After a red-hot start in his new Chiefs uniform, McCoy would up as a late-season afterthought.

Still, Jon Gruden loves his veteran players and the Raiders considered McCoy to join starter Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Rod Smith, and third-round rookie Lynn Bowden. The Raiders probably don’t have room for McCoy, but plenty of other teams could be interested in the one-time superstar. If the Philly return doesn’t go down, the Bears would be a logical landing spot for someone like McCoy – ditto for fellow free agent RB Devonta Freeman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

LeSean McCoy “Could See” Himself With Eagles

This week, we learned that the Eagles are interested in Carlos Hyde. Could their search for a veteran running back lead them to old friend LeSean McCoy instead?

[RELATED: Eagles Interested In Carlos Hyde]

I could see that,” McCoy told the NFL Network on Wednesday (h/t Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia). “On another note, since I left, you haven’t seen the [No.] 25 active in green, so you never know. I’m going to keep my options open, though. I could see myself there in Philly. Like I said, that’s home, so you never know.”

Shady spent his first four seasons with the Eagles where he did some of his finest work. With the Birds, McCoy earned three trips to the Pro Bowl and twice earned First-Team All-Pro honors (2011, 2013). In 2013, he led the league with 1,607 yards on the ground – more than 100 yards per game. He also added 52 catches for 539 yards that year, just for good measure.

Last year, the Bills dropped McCoy just before the start of the season. Soon after, he was scooped up by Andy Reid‘s Chiefs on a one-year, $3MM deal. Before that, the Eagles, Patriots, and Chargers all touched base with the six-time Pro Bowler.

His Chiefs season ended with a Super Bowl, but the campaign was a weird one on the whole. Early on, he saw 10-plus touches in seven of the Chiefs’ first eight games. Later, he missed time, and he was hardly seen down the stretch. Still, McCoy averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2019, after a career-worst 3.2 YPC figure with the Bills in 2018. He could be an interesting addition to the Eagles backfield, especially if they can’t strike a deal with Hyde.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: McCoy, Kamalu, Sanders

Lesean McCoy had the least productive year of his career this past season, but he won’t be hanging up his cleats. Even though it’s been reported the Chiefs won’t be bringing him back, McCoy still plans to play in 2020, he confirmed in a recent interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio (Twitter link). McCoy said that he’s been in talks with a few teams, and that he wants to go to a “winning franchise.” When asked by the hosts how long he wanted to keep going McCoy said “I really just want to play two more years,” but then added that he wouldn’t put a ceiling on it.

Interestingly, McCoy said it was ageless-wonder Frank Gore who gave him that last piece of advice. McCoy, who had only 465 yards rushing in 13 games with Kansas City, will turn 32 in July. His role decreased down the stretch, and he was a healthy scratch for the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. A six-time Pro Bowler, McCoy was recently named to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade team and had the most rushing yards of any player in the decade.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Defensive end Ufomba Kamalu was released by the Ravens two days ago, and now we know why. Kamalu was arrested on a domestic violence charge, according to a release from Baltimore county officials. Officers spoke to a woman who “suffered from a visible injury” after an argument from Kamalu, and issued an arrest warrant for him. An undrafted free agent from Miami back in 2016, Baltimore signed him off the Patriots’ practice squad in October. Kamalu is likely facing league discipline should his legal situation get resolved and another team is interested.
  • The Saints got their number two receiver behind Michael Thomas when they signed Emmanuel Sanders a few weeks ago, and now we’ve got the full details on the deal. Sanders got a two-year, $16MM pact, but no money in the second year is guaranteed, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. Both 2020 and 2021 have base values of $8MM, and there are reception incentives of up to $1.5MM in each year. They also added a third year that automatically voids to spread the cap hit, so his cap number for 2020 is only $4MM. The Saints are clearly gearing up for one last Super Bowl run with Drew Brees, and they’ll be able to get out of Sanders’ contract after this season if they want to. Sanders has remained productive in recent years, but he turned 33 last month.