Yesterday evening, the first big trade of the 2015 NFL off-season happened. LB Kiko Alonso is headed to the Philadelphia Eagles and RB LeSean McCoy is off to join the Buffalo Bills. There have already been a ton of reactions to this news (as one might expect). We’re going to spend this morning looking at the top ten most important outcomes of this deal.
1. Kiko Alonso is the biggest winner in this thing. Although the Bills are more relevant than they were, say, five years ago, Alonso is joining a team that has a better linebacker group and 10 wins in each of the past two seasons. Not to mention Alonso’s history with Chip Kelly won’t hurt anything.
2. Oregon Ducks fans should be turning in their Seahawks/49ers (I’m jumping to geographic fandom conclusions) gear and stocking-up on Philadelphia Eagles jerseys. Chip Kelly’s NFL team is turning into the Philadelphia Ducks (thanks for coining that one, Patrick Peterson), with eight former Oregon players now on the roster.
3. Rex Ryan’s influence in Buffalo is more-or-less cemented with this trade. Ryan has barely been at his job for a month and has already brokered what could be the biggest deal of this entire offseason. Even though Shady isn’t coming off his best season, there’s no doubt he’s still among the league’s best backs.
4. This trade is a very good thing for the Philadelphia Eagles’ salary cap situation. In addition to cutting Todd Herremans already, they saved $11.95 million by trading McCoy, and will save another $8.00 milliion when they release Trent Cole. This gives Chip Kelly and Co. the ability to make noise in free agency and to re-sign certain key players, like WR Jeremy Maclin, perhaps.
5. Speaking of free agency, this trade could bode well for former Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller. Spiller learned he had been cut immediately prior to an appearance on NFL Network on Tuesday night. Could we see Spiller and McCoy trade places in 2015? Spiller seems to think it’s a possibility, joking, “I’m pretty sure that Chip has my agent’s phone number.”
6. In a recent interview, LeSean McCoy told LaDainian Tomlinson that he and Chip Kelly didn’t have the world’s greatest working relationship (I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist). I can’t help but wonder if that contributed to McCoy’s down year in 2014. One interesting potential outcome of this trade is that a happier Shady could start producing big numbers once again.
7. On the flip side, Lesean McCoy isn’t the biggest winner in this deal. McCoy is off to a team with a worse offensive line and a completely new coaching staff. We’ll just have to wait and see what he can do with the Buffalo Bills burgeoning offense.
8. With this trade, Chip Kelly is slowly, but surely, continuing to dismantle former Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman’s legacy. Todd Herremans is already gone, Trent Cole is on his way out, and fan-favorite LeSean McCoy just got sent to the great white north. It’ll certainly be intriguing to see how this re-branding, of sorts, works out when September rolls around.
9. In line with my previous point, this trade likely signals the end of the road in Philadelphia for veteran ILB Demeco Ryans. Ryans is coming off of an Achilles tendon tear and is set to eat-up a chunk of cap space in 2015. Plus, the Eagles just signed former Green Bay Packers ILB Brad Jones, which is a pretty good indication that Ryans is already gone.
10. I’m interested to see if this trade has any kind of major impact on RB value this off-season. The Eagles did, after all, just trade one of the league’s best players at the position while he’s still in his prime. LeSean McCoy is just 26-years-old and hasn’t suffered any serious injuries to this point.