ESPN's Adam Schefter dropped a huge piece of news on Tuesday afternoon.
The Buffalo Bills have traded away linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for running back LeSean McCoy.
Initial reaction to the trade is a dropped jaw. Alonso was the defensive rookie of the year in 2013 but missed 2014 with an injury. McCoy is considered one of the best running backs in the league, earning All Pro status in 2011 and 2013. Both positions are generally fungible in the sense that a mid-round draft pick will be okay, if unspectacular.
The Bills totally won, right? They got the better talent, they have a running back who can draw attention away from whatever custodial staff member they put at quarterback, and the Eagles got a linebacker coming off an injury.
But look deeper. The Eagles received a linebacker with a cap hit of roughly $1.2 million and $1.4 million in each of the next two seasons, while McCoy has a cap hit of $11.95 million, $8.85 million, and $7.85 million in the next three seasons. McCoy will be 27 next season, which is still very young, but he's coming off his worst season since his rookie year.
McCoy has a fair amount of yardage under his belt and Bills head coach Rex Ryan will be reverting to his 2009 approach with a heavily featured running game. This past year, McCoy was the least elusive- his best trait- in his entire career. He's reached the mileage (1,700+ touches) where backs typically start to slip.
The Eagles had a terrible offensive line situation due to injuries across the board. The back-up quality players that McCoy couldn't run behind will be an every game reality in Buffalo.
The Bills might have made a move that looks great on paper- and it has Rex Ryan stamped all over it- but it shows a lack of understanding in roster building. Kiko was a young and cheap player who performs at a high level. McCoy is a back with a lot of mileage and a monstrous contract.
Time will tell if trade pays off, but it reeks of the Patriots dumping Logan Mankins' albatross contract on the Buccaneers in exchange for a draft pick and Tim Wright. Sure, the Bucs might've received the better player now, but the Patriots were building a better roster. It will be interesting to see what direction the Bills turn.