One question that swirled as the Buffalo Bills embarked on a season with low expectations was what would happen with star running back LeSean McCoy. With a shuffled offense, a rookie quarterback, and a losing season ahead (not to mention several alleged civil incidents that came up in the offseason), people were wondering if McCoy could be traded at some point.
Now we can believe at least one team is exploring the option, with WIVB’s Josh Reed reporting that the Philadelphia Eagles have reached out to Buffalo discussing trading McCoy back to the team where he grew into an NFL star (and where he’s the all-time leading rusher). The Eagles, who defeated the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl last year, are currently scuffling at 2-3 and lost their starting runner Jay Ajayi to a torn ACL.
If the Bills are to be persuaded to trade McCoy, they have to decide that the return value is worth the cost of losing the one star player on their offense. McCoy’s production, experience, and gameday mentality are all positive attributes that would help Josh Allen’s development in his rookie season. Can the Eagles (or another team) offer enough to offset that loss? Would they be willing to, for a 30 year old running back on a career-worst rushing pace?
Philadelphia has an extra second round pick available, and are projected to receive fourth and sixth round compensatory picks from free agent departures like Trey Burton and Beau Allen. How high would they be willing to go?
There’s also a salary implication to any trade discussion, though the impact is much lower than it would’ve been a year ago. Right now, the Bills owe McCoy just under $9 million for the season. If they trade him, it would accelerate an additional $2.625M of his signing bonus onto Buffalo’s 2018 salary cap as dead money. However, the team would save around $4 million from McCoy’s remaining 2018 salary, plus $6.425M in 2019, by not needing to pay McCoy’s salary anymore. The team to trade for McCoy would owe him those sums.
Update: Anthony Gargano, a radio host in Philadelphia, reported that the Bills have started negotiations by asking for a second and a third round pick in exchange for McCoy.