The Philadelphia Eagles have traded LeSean McCoy, their most dominant offensive weapon over the past few years, to the Buffalo Bills for Kiko Alonso who is coming off an ACL injury and missed all of last season, as reported by The USA Today.
The real question that needs to be answered is, “What is Chip Kelly thinking?”
The basic premise of football is not complicated. Score more points than your opponent and you win. Chip Kelly has gotten rid of his two most potent offensive weapons in DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy over the last two seasons. The overall production of that offense has significantly dropped now.
The Washington Redskins, who play the Eagles twice every season, always focused their defensive game plans on stopping McCoy first, according to ESPN’s John Keim. You will not find that opinion commonly held about Darren Sproles, who is primarily viewed as a receiver out of the backfield.
So, what is Chip Kelly thinking?
The obvious choice is that McCoy is a cap casualty who is approximately $12 million against the salary cap, which would make it seem that Kelly is doing this from a business perspective. However, since winning games is part of the business for every coach, there is just not enough here for that to be the reason.
So, is there some sort of Belichick-esque madness going on with Kelly? Eagles’ fans are certainly hoping so.
Shutdown Corner’s Frank Schwab argues that Kelly has quickly developed the Belichick knack for getting rid of players a year before they hit downward slope.
“…[McCoy’s] yards from scrimmage went from 2,146 in 2013 to 1,474 in 2014. His yards per carry went from 5.1 to 4.2 and yards per catch went from 10.4 to 5.5.”
RantSports is reporting another possible theory that Kelly is going to flip Alonso and the #20 pick with Tampa Bay for the #1 pick to draft Marcus Mariota. The assumption here is that Tampa Bay is going to focus on defense first, as opposed to the quarterback position. (That is not a huge leap when you are talking about a 2-14 team though.)
The only problem is Mariota had solid running backs at Oregon. Is Kelly really thinking that Sproles can be that kind of running back instead of LeSean McCoy? Sproles was not the every down back McCoy was in New Orleans or in San Diego. The McCoy trade even makes less sense unless Kelly is planning to draft a running back.
The most mind-boggling possibility is that Kelly firmly believes that his system can produce a running back without having a player of McCoy’s caliber. Someone needs to tell Chip that this is the NFL, where every week is a tough week – unlike college, where you only play three or four “real” games in a season.
[Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]