LeSean McCoy

East Notes: Bills, Barkley, McCoy, Giants, Dolphins, Herbert

It’s been a crazy season for the Bills. While the defense has been promising, the offense has been an absolute train-wreck. They’ve cycled through quarterbacks, and will now get their fourth new starting signal caller of the season this Sunday. Recently signed Matt Barkley will get the start for Buffalo over Nathan Peterman, according to a release from the team (Twitter link).

There was some hope that rookie Josh Allen would be able to return this week, but the Bills ruled him out with his elbow injury. Derek Anderson has still been unable to clear the concussion protocol, so he won’t be able to play either. That left Barkley, who was only signed ten days ago, and Peterman as the only healthy options. It’s been reported before that coach Sean McDermott risked losing the locker room if he started Peterman again, so it makes sense why the team is turning to Barkley here. Barkley hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since 2016, when he started a few games with Chicago down the stretch. In those starts Barkley was up and down, looking awful at times and competent at others.

Here’s more from the league’s Eastern divisions:

  • Top brass from both the Giants and Dolphins are at the Oregon-Utah game today to scout quarterback Justin Herbert, according to Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). Eli Manning and Ryan Tannehill both have uncertain futures with their respective teams, so it makes sense why they’d be taking a look. Herbert is widely considered the best quarterback prospect who’s draft eligible, but is reportedly considered unlikely to enter the draft after this year.
  • The Bills’ season might be circling the drain, but star running back LeSean McCoy insists he is happy in Buffalo, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter link). McCoy said that while “a lot of teams” wanted to trade for him at this year’s deadline, he is in the Bills’ longterm plans and is happy where he is. McCoy is getting up there in age, but still has his same burst and trademarked cutting ability. He’s hardly responsible for the Bills’ offensive woes, as opposing defenses completely sellout to stop the run.
  • In case you missed it, former Jets draft bust Christian Hackenberg signed with the upstart football league the AAF yesterday.

AFC East Notes: Jets, McCoy, Patriots

The JetsTrumaine Johnson investment hasn’t quite paid off yet. The twice-franchise-tagged cornerback signed a five-year, $72.5MM contract this offseason but has only played since September due to a nagging quadriceps injury. While Johnson returned to practice this week, he’s listed as doubtful for the Jets’ Week 9 game against the Dolphins. And Johnson said he’s ready to come back. Gang Green’s injury report doesn’t seem to concur.

I definitely feel like I’m there, but that’s the coach’s decision, the trainer’s decision,” Johnson said, via the New York Daily News’ Howie Kussoy. “It’s not my choice.”

The seventh-year cornerback battled quad trouble in 2015 but only missed two games. His return to limited practice work this week certainly points to a return in Week 10 against the Bills, barring a setback. At 3-5 and spiraling out of contention, the Jets need all the help they can get.

Here’s the latest from the AFC East, shifting first to offseason matters for the rebuilding Jets.

  • While big-ticket players like Le’Veon Bell or Jadeveon Clowney (were they to reach free agency) would be within reach for a Jets team that will have north of $100MM in 2019 cap space and intends to spend, several slightly lower-tier options stand to be available. Tevin Coleman, Mark Ingram, Golden Tate and Devin Funchess are some of the skill-position options who could be Jets targets, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News writes. Devonta Freeman may not be entering 2019 on a high note, but the Falcons’ starting back is not a realistic release candidate next year. That could lead Coleman out of Atlanta. None of the other skill cogs here have entered into substantive extension talks with their respective teams, either.
  • LeSean McCoy‘s legal team filed a response to Delicia Cordon’s lawsuit this week, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The Bills running back wants Cordon’s lawsuit to be dismissed, per Rodak (on Twitter), and continues to deny his ex-girlfriend’s claim that he physically abused her. No ruling’s come down on Cordon’s suit yet, and McCoy continues to play. But this matter could potentially bring a suspension in the future.
  • Free agent offensive lineman Jason King filed an injury grievance against the Patriots, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets. King joins Kenny Britt and Malcolm Mitchell in filing injury grievances against the Pats. King’s grievance is for his $363K injury split salary, per Volin. The Patriots twice signed and twice cut King this offseason, the most recent transaction coming when the team cut him after the preseason slate.

Bills To Bring LeSean McCoy Back In 2019

LeSean McCoy‘s name was bandied about in trade rumors last month, but the Bills held on to the veteran past Tuesday’s deadline. In a conversation with Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News, GM Brandon Beane said that McCoy was retained because he is a part of the team’s vision for 2019. 

“Definitely,” Beane said when asked whether McCoy will be on the roster next year. “That’s the whole key. LeSean is still a very good player in this league. Our offense is not where we want it, but LeSean is still playing well. He’s a talented player. We like what he brings, to the point we’ll have him back in 2019. He’ll definitely be a part of that.”

The 30-year-old is currently averaging a career-low 3.4 yards-per-attempt, and he’s yet to score a touchdown this season. However, McCoy had compiled at least 1,000 rushing yards in both 2016 and 2017, and it’s clear that opposing teams are not respecting the pass.

Beane still believes in McCoy’s ability, which is why does not intend to trade or release McCoy, despite the potential cap savings. Releasing McCoy outright would save the club $6.4MM with just $2.6MM left over in dead money.

The GM’s position also reaffirms the club’s belief that the accusations against McCoy are not valid. For his part, the running back has denied any wrongdoing or connection to the July home invasion that left his ex-girlfriend battered.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots Trades, Collins, Bills, Hughes, Jets, Sterling

The Patriots are annually one of the most aggressive teams in the league when it comes to adding talent, as evidenced by their recent trade for Josh Gordon. With the trade deadline now just a couple of days away, New England is looking to make more moves. The team wants “to acquire some help in the defensive front seven by the deadline Tuesday”, and “they’ve had internal discussions about trading for linebacker Jamie Collins“, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.

The Patriots traded Collins to the Browns in 2016, and now apparently have some interest in bringing him back. It would be an unusual move with a player being traded twice between two teams, but the Browns would likely welcome the relief of getting out of Collins’ contract, and it sounds like the Patriots are interested. Collins signed a four-year $50MM deal with Cleveland in 2017, and hasn’t lived up to that deal so far. Whatever happens, it sounds like the Patriots’ defense will look a little different by this time next week.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes “has been a hot name on the trade market”, but the “Bills have been reluctant to part with him”, a source told Howe. Howe thinks that Hughes would “be a good fit for the Patriots”, but doesn’t think Buffalo will decide to part with him. Hughes has been having a good season, notching 4.5 sacks in seven games.
  • Jets tight end Neal Sterling “suffered his second concussion of the season” today against the Bears, and “likely will be lost [for] multiple games”, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Twitter link). The Jets are very thin at tight end, so this is a somewhat significant loss for New York.
  • Bills running back LeSean McCoy has cleared the concussion protocol and will play Monday night against the Patriots, the team announced in a tweet. It’s a huge boost for Buffalo’s struggling offense as they look to pull of the massive upset in primetime.

Trade Rumors: Carr, Raiders, Peterson, Taylor

We learned earlier this morning that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson has requested a trade, though the team wants to keep him. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Jackson, on his way to the team bus this morning, declined to comment on the report.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league (Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says many GMs expect there to be three to five “impactful” deals over the next 48 hours, offers a helpful primer, which includes a list of some of the most-discussed players on the market):

  • Albert Breer of TheMMQB says that the Raiders may not be done dealing just yet, though he does not expect the team to move Derek Carr (indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that the Raiders have told Carr that he is the quarterback of the present and future). However, Oakland is open to moving Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley, though the Raiders are driving a “hard bargain” with teams interested in Conley.
  • Breer names a number of other players whose names we have not heard in recent rumblings but who could nonetheless be on the move: the PackersHa Ha Clinton-Dix, the 49ersPierre Garcon and Jimmie Ward, the CardinalsChandler Jones, and the BroncosShane Ray and Brandon Marshall. Breers adds that San Francisco would need to get something “significant” to deal Ward. He also says that, while teams are certainly interested in Denver corners Bradley Roby and Chris Harris, he thinks it would be difficult for the team to trade either.
  • If they had elected to trade Patrick Peterson, La Canfora writes that the Cardinals could have received a bounty for him, and may have even landed multiple first-round picks (in fact, several teams were already prepared to offer a first- and second-rounder). JLC reports that Peterson was considered the “crown jewel” of the deadline, and given his attractive contract status, he may be the subject of renewed trade rumors during the offseason.
  • Breer also writes that the Browns are open to trading Tyrod Taylor, whose contract structure could make a deal feasible. Meanwhile, Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that Cleveland GM John Dorsey may be trying to acquire wide receiver help (Twitter link).
  • The Bills remain unlikely to trade LeSean McCoy, per Schefter.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has demonstrated a proclivity for making trades, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Maccagnan has been doing his due diligence on everyone, including big-name players. But while there is a sense that New York could swing a deal, the fact that the team is in a no-man’s land between buyer and seller, and the fact that the roster does not have many tradeable pieces, could make a trade difficult to pull off.

LeSean McCoy Still In Concussion Protocol

LeSean McCoy‘s status for Monday night’s game against the Patriots is still up in the air. ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the Bills running back is still in the concussion protocol. Head coach Sean McDermott said the team is taking it “one day at a time” with McCoy as they prepare for the team’s first Monday night game in almost a decade.

McCoy left the opening drive of Buffalo’s Week 7 loss to the Colts, but he was already back at Thursday’s practice on a limited basis. The veteran would have to be cleared by the medical staff if he wants to suit up against New England, but his participation in practice is encouraging. At the very least, there seems to be more optimism surrounding McCoy’s status than there was at the beginning of the week.

The 30-year-old is currently averaging a career-low 3.9 yards-per-attempt, and he’s yet to score a touchdown this season. However, McCoy had compiled at least 1,000 rushing yards in both 2016 and 2017, and his Pro Bowl pedigree has to led him being involved in a number of trade rumors. While teams like the Eagles are still monitoring the situation, we recently heard that the Bill were unlikely to trade the running back.

While McCoy’s status is up in the air, it sounds like Chris Ivory is ready to go on Monday night. Rodak tweets that the veteran running back is on track to play despite his injured hamstring. The 30-year-old compiled 81 rushing yards on 16 carries in place of McCoy last weekend, and he added another three receptions for 25 yards. Marcus Murphy would also see reps if McCoy doesn’t suit up.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints, Eagles Could Be Aggressive At Trade Deadline

The Saints and Eagles are expected to be among the most aggressive teams in advance of the October 30 trade deadline, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who adds that the two clubs are interested in a few of the same players.

Interestingly, La Canfora writes that Philadelphia is still monitoring the trade markets for Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy, though recent reports surrounding both running backs suggest that they will be staying with their current teams. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer says it would not cost much to get McCoy, despite what the Bills have been saying, but it does not seem likely that the Eagles will reunite with their former star. Instead, in keeping with previous reports, it sounds as if the Eagles are content with their running back situation, and Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the team sees a defensive tackle, secondary help, and a field-stretching wide receiver as bigger priorities.

La Canfora also writes that the Eagles are seeking another receiving option and a quality corner, and he says the Saints are looking for upgrades at the same positions. The Raiders are said to be shopping Amari Cooper, who is probably the best wide receiver who could be had at the deadline, but Larry Fitzgerald and Emmanuel Sanders may also be in play. Meanwhile, Eli Apple, Gareon Conley, and Bradley Roby are some of the corners who have been attracting the interest of rival clubs.

The Saints are currently 4-1 and are atop the NFC South, and they are clearly in win-now mode as they hope to bring home another Lombardi Trophy before Drew Brees, 39, hangs up the cleats. The defending champion Eagles are just 3-3 but are very much alive in the wide open NFC East.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: McCoy, Bills, Wake, Pats

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the odds of the Bills trading any veterans — like RB LeSean McCoy, whose name has recently surfaced in trade rumors — are very slim. La Canfora writes that it would take a “bounty” to pry McCoy or Jerry Hughes away from Buffalo, as the team considers both players, who are both signed beyond this season to club-friendly deals, to be vital veteran components of its rebuild. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com agrees, saying it could take as much as a second-round draft pick to land McCoy.

Now let’s round up a few more notes from the AFC East, starting with more from Orchard Park:

  • This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Rapoport tweets that the Bills have no intention of playing newly-acquired signal-caller Derek Anderson, barring injury. Anderson is with the club to tutor rookie QB Josh Allen, not to take any of his playing time.
  • From the “something to keep an eye on” department, Jenna Cottrell of 13 WHAM tweets that Allen asked wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes during pregame warm-ups today, and Benjamin told him no. The Bills acquired Benjamin at the trade deadline last year but have not gotten much production out of him, and he does not appear especially motivated to perform well in his platform year.
  • Dolphins DE Cameron Wake recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery but could be back as soon as next week, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Normally such a procedure would require a four-week recovery period, but Wake is such a quick healer that he may make it back in a fraction of that time.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes that Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty is on pace to recoup the money that he lost when he agreed to a pay cut before the regular season. New England gave him the opportunity to make up the difference via incentives, and McCourty is well on his way to hitting those incentives. The same cannot be said for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, however.
  • Reiss also notes that Kenjon Barner, who has been shuttled on and off of the Patriots‘ roster several times since September 12, may have a little more job security right now. Barner’s former club, the Eagles, are very much in need of RB help, and the Pats know that if they cut Barner again, they may not get him back.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com tweets that Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, who is dealing with a serious illness, is on the sidelines for the team’s game against the Colts today. It does not sound as if he has resumed his coordinator responsibilities yet, but it is a good sign nonetheless.

Eagles Don’t View RB As Key Need?

Some big-name running backs have been connected to the defending Super Bowl champions as trade possibilities after news broke of Jay Ajayi‘s season-ending ACL tear. But the Eagles may not view the position as a must-address spot.

The Eagles don’t see running back as one of their top needs as the trade deadline nears, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Instead, Philadelphia views its tackle situation and the need for consistent cover men to emerge as bigger deficiencies than running back post-Ajayi.

The Eagles have done their due diligence about what it would take to acquire a big name, however. Breer reports Philly made calls to both Pittsburgh and Buffalo about the respective availability of Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy.

Recalling the Eagles’ 11th-hour trade for Ajayi last year, it shouldn’t be ruled out the team will use some of the recent cap space (now up to $10.4MM) it created by reworking Fletcher Cox‘s deal on this position. But Breer does not consider it likely the Eagles trade for a running back.

Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood split time on Thursday night against the Giants, combining for 94 rushing yards and a touchdown. A UDFA out of Wisconsin, Clement’s missed time due to injury this season. But he came up in Super Bowl LII. Smallwood came into the season as the Eagles’ No. 4 back — behind Ajayi, Clement and the now-injured Darren Sproles — but is averaging 4.7 yards per carry in an extended look this season.

Philadelphia’s still waiting on Sidney Jones‘ development, per Breer, and does not have much in the way of reliability beyond Ronald Darby at cornerback. Even though Jason Peters has encountered a potentially constraining biceps injury, he and Lane Johnson represent one of the NFL’s top tackle pairs. But the team is seeing Johnson “underachieve” this season, and a torn biceps may not be the kind of malady Peters can simply play through.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Interested In Bills’ LeSean McCoy

Could the Eagles reunite with LeSean McCoy? The club has “some interest” in trading for the Bills running back, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

[RELATED: Eagles Create Cap Space; Unlikely To Use It On Le’Veon Bell]

The Eagles recently lost starter Jay Ajayi for the season, leaving them thin in the backfield. For now, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood figure to pick up the slack, but McCoy would give the Eagles a proven starter at running back.

Of course, there are a lot of external factors to consider when it comes to McCoy. McCoy’s ex-girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, claims that he ordered the the July home invasion that left her battered and recently accused him of physical abuse. The 30-year-old Harrisburg, PA native vehemently denies all of the accusations, but a league suspension remains possible.

Beyond that, the Eagles would have to assume McCoy’s contract, which calls for a $8.95MM cap number this year and a $9.05MM figure in 2019. Releasing McCoy before the start of next season would result in $2.625MM in dead money, and that’s not chump change for a club that is tight against the salary cap limit. Still, McCoy would require less of a financial commitment than Le’Veon Bell, and it’s possible that McCoy would be willing to restructure his deal in order to facilitate a return to Philadelphia.

McCoy played his best football while flying with the Eagles, including the 2013 season in which he led the league with 1,607 yards. He’s also been effective in the second half of his career in Buffalo, averaging 4.5 yards per tote since 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.