The Buffalo Bills have nearly $31 million in cap space going into the 2018 NFL season, according to Spotrac. If they were to release LeSean McCoy, their best offensive player, they would add savings to that figure. However, that move would be a terrible one heading into a year where the Bills will look to build momentum after making the playoffs for the first time in seventeen years.
If the Bills were to release McCoy, they would save $3.7 million on their 2018 salary cap. They would also lose one-third of their total offense, which would necessitate a total rebuild of the running game in a year where the passing game, specifically the quarterback position, is expected to be overhauled.
While releasing McCoy is not an impossibility, it is as close to one as there is on Buffalo’s current roster. He has been consistently productive, averaging 241 carries, 1,100 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, 47 catches, 365 receiving yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns per season since arriving via trade from Philadelphia in 2015. While his efficiency numbers took a dive this year, as McCoy averaged a career-low 4 yards per carry, he looked every bit as quick and spry as he has for the entirety of his NFL career.
LeSean McCoy is almost certainly a Hall of Fame running back. The big question will be whether or not he will be enshrined on the first ballot, not whether or not he’ll make it to Canton. The Bills cannot justify cutting their best offensive player when his primary backup under contract is an unproven player like Marcus Murphy. They cannot justify cutting McCoy and replacing him with a high draft pick at the running back position, especially given the number of other holes the team needs to fill. They cannot justify releasing him to save less than $4 million.
Buffalo would be wise to retain McCoy for the foreseeable future, especially given his excellent overall production in 2017.
2018 cap hit: $8.95 million
Workout bonus: $250,000
Salary due: $6.075 million
Dead money: $5.25 million
Cap savings: $3.7 million ($6.325 million post-June 1)
- Video analysis: Shady was awesome in 2017
- There are no current Bills ready to replace LeSean McCoy
- Free agent options at running back aren’t as good as Shady
- Bills would have to trade up to get an NFL Draft RB as good as McCoy
- 2018 NFL Draft options to replace Shady would involve a trade up
- Shady is good; add a change of pace back