USA Today Sports

McCoy to Eagles: 5 thoughts on a potential trade

Eliot Shorr-Parks
October 10, 2018 - 7:34 am

The Eagles are in need of a running back and they might be bringing back a familiar face to fill that need. 

According to a report, the Eagles have contacted the Buffalo Bills about potentially bringing back running back LeSean McCoy. 

Here are some thoughts on a potential McCoy deal:

McCoy: McCoy might not be the same player he was during his days with the Eagles, but he isn’t as far off as many think. McCoy has averaged 1,604 yards from scrimmage the last two seasons in Buffalo. Outside of his outstanding 2013 season with the Eagles, McCoy has produced in Buffalo essentially the same numbers he did in 2010 and 2011 with the Eagles. 

McCoy has also stayed relatively healthy in Buffalo, as he has played in 35 of the last 36 games the Bills have played. He averaged 4.0 yards per carry in 2016 and 5.4 yards per carry in 2017. Make no mistake about it -- McCoy is still a very dangerous player out of the backfield. 

Fit on the field: McCoy fits what the Eagles do on offense perfectly. Not only is he a dangerous runner out of the backfield, but he is a very capable pass catcher. McCoy has pulled in 109 catches during the 2016 and 2017 season. Although Smallwood has done a nice job as the team's primary target out of the backfield, McCoy would be an upgrade. 

McCoy also fills the Eagles’ sudden need for a workhorse at running back. With Ajayi on injured reserve, Darren Sproles still out with a lower-body injury and Corey Clement dealing with a quad injury, the Eagles can’t count on any of their top three running backs going forward. The Eagles wouldn’t have to give McCoy 20 carries a game, but he is capable of doing that if needed. Acquiring McCoy would allow Clement, Smallwood and Josh Adams to remain in the roles they currently have. 

Off-the-field: McCoy does not come without his issues off the field. The running back is in the middle of a nasty legal dispute his with former girlfriend. The case involves allegations of both child abuse and animal abuse. You can read all about his current legal issues here

The Eagles would need to be comfortable about bringing McCoy into the locker room if they were to make a trade. They would have to be as certain as they can be that nothing else will come up after they trade for him, or that a suspension isn't looming from the NFL. Their history with McCoy would help, but the running back’s off-the-field issues can’t simply be looked over. 

Financially: The Eagles have around $10 million in salary cap space. McCoy has a salary cap hit of around $8.9 million this season for Buffalo, but the Eagles would be paying a fraction of that. To start, the Eagles would only owe McCoy’s base salary, not his prorated signing bonus. That drops the number down to around $6 million. That number drops even lower the longer into the season it goes without a deal being made. If the Eagles were to trade for McCoy prior to Week 7, so after their game this Thursday against the Giants, McCoy’s cap hit for the 2018 season on the Eagles’ books would be around $3.9 million. The number is lower because the Eagles would only pay McCoy 11 game checks, not the full slate since he would have spent the first 6 weeks in Buffalo.   

So if the Eagles do make a deal for McCoy prior to Week 7, he would take up around $3.9 million, and the Eagles would have around $6.1 million left over.

2019: McCoy currently have a base salary in 2019 of $6.1 million. Since the pro-rated signing bonus would remain on the Bills’ books, and not the Eagles, the team could release him without any dead money left on the books. Or, the Eagles could decide to keep him for $6.1 million next season. 

The Eagles could have as much as $25 million in salary cap space this offseason, but with how many key players will be wanting new deals, the $6 million is a significant chunk of space to commit to a running back. Meaning McCoy would likely be a rental for the remainder of the 2018 season, and then either cut or restructured to a lower number in 2019.

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at!