Chip Kelly has balls.
Yes, he just traded LeSean McCoy, who is arguably the greatest running back in team history for a linebacker that is coming off of an ACL injury. But before you freak out, understand that this is a great move for the Philadelphia Eagles.
For starters, McCoy is on the back end of his career. Running backs have a mileage limit that can be hit at anytime. We already saw signs of him slowing down this past season. Whether you liked to admit it or not, McCoy looked a step slower hitting the holes this past season and that was evident by his yard per attempt numbers being down nearly a full yard from the previous season. He was also down 18 yards a game this season compared to the one previous. The question Chip and others in the Eagles organization had to be asking was whether or not paying $11 million a year for a guy that saw his production drop 20% worth it? Obviously by their move on Tuesday night the answer was no. The cap hit was too much for a guy that had already seen his production go down. Also remember that running backs are very replaceable. Look at Denver, Indianapolis and New England, all of those teams have revolving doors at running back and still have some of the best offenses in football. Chip understands this, so just like Hinkie and MCW, Kelly sold high on McCoy and brought back a rising superstar in Kiko Alonso.
Alonso is no pushover. The former second round pick from Oregon (of course) is only 24 years old. In his second season with the Bills, Alonso had 159 tackles, 4 ints and 2 sacks, which is remarkable production from a second year player. Also by doing this deal, the Eagles saved $10 million on the cap, as Alonso is only making $1.1 million a year. If Alonso can stay healthy the Eagles just got themselves a stud at inside linebacker
So, where do the Eagles go from here? Well for starters, this team is going to be major players in free agency. If they cut Demeco Ryans, the team could have upwards of $60 million in cap space. That’s a lot of moola to go after some of the best free agents in football. But the team now adds another hole at running back by moving McCoy. If the team decides not to move up to get Mariota, the Eagles will have two incredibly good options at #20 that would both be better than McCoy going forward.
The two guys I’m talking about are Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley. Both of these guys have NFL superstar written all over them.
So while this move is a shock, calm down Philadelphia. This was a really smart move by Chip Kelly.
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