Breaking Down the McCoy-Alonso Trade

In the NFL you don't see many quality player for player trades anymore. More often than not, it's a player for a draft choice or choices. That wasn't the case yesterday as Philadelphia traded running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for linebacker Kiko Alonso. While the trade can't become official until next week, it's said to be pretty much a done deal. In most trades there is always a winner and a loser, but in this case, I feel that it is fairly even exchange. Philly does come out with some advantages when you look at the overall impact, which I will explain shortly. What Buffalo Gets In McCoy Buffalo gets one of the more dynamic running backs in the NFL. In the last two seasons, he has rushed for close to 3000 yards, had 80 receptions, and scored 16 touchdowns. McCoy won't turn 27 until July, so he is still relatively young. He also has not sustained a serious injury during his career. He missed four games with a concussion in 2012 and missed a game in 2011 with a sprained ankle. So his durability has been excellent. He gives the Bills a weapon they haven't had at the running back position since Thurman Thomas. On the down side, even though McCoy has yet to turn 27, he has already played six seasons in the NFL and has had 1761 touches between carries and receptions. Running backs have a short shelf life and when you draft one, you are hoping to get five good seasons. That said, how many more productive seasons does McCoy have left? The other thing Buffalo gets is McCoy's huge salary. Going into free agency, Buffalo who doesn't have a first round pick had plenty of cap room to make a splash. Adding McCoy's salary of over 10 million takes away a large chunk of that cap space. What Philadelphia Gets While Philly loses a playmaker, they gain a young linebacker in Alonso, who had 159 total tackles to go along with two sacks and four interceptions as a rookie. He missed all of 2014 when he tore his ACL shortly before the start of training camp. Being that it has already been eight months since the surgery, Alonso should be fine. There is no way Philly would have agreed to the trade if they felt otherwise. Alonso played for Eagles coach Chip Kelly in college and he was a player the Eagles were targeting in the 2013 draft. Buffalo beat the Eagles to the punch when they selected Alonso in the second round. The trade now gives Philly two fast and instinctive inside linebackers in Alonso and Mychal Kendricks. It will also allow Philly to most likely part ways with DeMeco Ryans and his 6.8M salary. In just over the last week, Philly has cleared over 25M in cap space with the trade and by cutting Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, and Cary Williams. If they cut Ryans, that number goes up to over 31M. The Eagles can do a lot in free agency with that kind space. When the trade was first announced, and with the announcements of Cole and Williams being let go, my first thought was maybe the Eagles would be going after Ndamukong Suh. But it makes more sense that Philly will be a big player in free agency. If that is the case, maybe those rumors of Philly trying to trade up for quarterback Marcus Mariota aren't so silly. To trade up, Philly would need to give up a bundle of draft choices. They can replace those draft picks with sound free agent signings. One thing is certain, when the league year officially starts next week things will be very interesting in both Philadelphia and Buffalo. If Philly actually does try and move up for Mariota, that could really change how the first part of the first round looks. Stay tuned... Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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