The Buffalo Bills released veteran running back LeSean McCoy in what was widely considered an unexpected move. Despite fighting through a lingering hamstring injury, the Pro-Bowl rusher still picked up 541 yards on 161 carries and three touchdowns in 2018.
McCoy is a known commodity even at his advanced age for a tailback. The 31-year-old shouldn’t be a free agent for too long with a bevy of NFL teams searching for upgrades in their backfields. McCoy is a pretty avid user of social media, yet he had not posted anything about his future plans immediately following the news.
He did post some epic pictures from a recent Nas concert, including one of him and the legendary rapper hanging out. Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry was quick to post the GOAT emoji in the comments section on the Instagram post. Was Curry referring to Nas? Or to McCoy? Remember, McCoy spent six electric seasons in Philadelphia and remains the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.
The surprise move appears to be a salary dump by the Bills as McCoy was due $6.2 million in base salary for 2019, including a $2.87 million dead cap hit. His cap number would have been the third-highest among all NFL running backs. Plus, Buffalo brought in veteran runner Frank Gore in the offseason, along with T.J. Yeldon and rookie Devin Singletary.
Chiefs, Eagles, Cowboys Possible Destinations
LeSean McCoy’s career numbers are mighty impressive and the shifty rusher clearly showed he has something left in the tank. He averaged 3.2 yards per carry last year in Buffalo while catching 34 balls out of the backfield. Simply put, he’ll get signed somewhere. Fast. Let’s take a look at a few possible landing spots.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Coach Andy Reid was the man who invested a second-round pick in McCoy when he drafted the Pittsburgh product way back in 2009. McCoy was brought in to take over for aging starter Brian Westbrook and he quickly ascended to the top of the Eagles’ depth chart. Reid always liked the kid, and the feeling was mutual.
Reid, of course, is now coaching the Chiefs and they could use depth at the position after releasing Kareem Hunt. Damien Williams is entrenched as the starter, with veteran Carlos Hyde and rookie Darwin Thompson behind him. Thompson has been turning heads in camp, but McCoy will be pretty tempting for Reid to ignore. The Chiefs are all in on a Super Bowl and McCoy might put them over the edge.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
McCoy is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher with 6,792 yards, a clean 254 yards ahead of Wilbert Montgomery. He also ranks No. 35 on their all-time receiving list with 2,282 yards. The Eagles don’t need any more star power in their backfield, not with Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles and Corey Clement leading the charge.
However, there has been a bit of nostalgia going on in Philadelphia as the organization cleans up the mess Chip Kelly left behind. They brought DeSean Jackson back into the fold and the reunion has been magical so far. Would they do the same for McCoy? Jackson and McCoy are close friends and have no doubt already texted about it.
3. Houston Texans
Lamar Miller is out for the year with a torn ACL. That’s not ideal for a team many think can make their own Super Bowl run. The cupboard isn’t bare in Houston as they traded Cleveland for Duke Johnson Jr., a player with legitimate skills and starter experience. Johnson hasn’t missed a game in four seasons — that’s 64 games and 1,286 yards.
But the Texans have absolutely no backup plan should Johnson go down. McCoy would not only give them depth, but he would most likely challenge Johnson for the starting job. The former Bills and Eagles star still has some of those “cut-on-a-dime” moves as evidenced by a 113-yard performance last season against the Jets in Week 10.
4. Dallas Cowboys
How about this for a shocking twist of fate? The Cowboys are in a quandary about what to do about Ezekiel Elliott as he continues to hold out for a monster contract. Owner Jerry Jones doesn’t seem intent on paying his leading rusher, going the petty route and joking that they don’t need him. In fact, Dallas has hinted that they are fine with moving on and starting rookie running back Tony Pollard.
That is all well and good for a feisty sound bite, but the Cowboys are another team in win-now mode. Their fans aren’t going to buy that song and dance if Pollard struggles early. McCoy fixes that problem immediately and maybe sends a message that no one player is bigger than the team. Plus, McCoy would be a fine mentor for Pollard.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Another team with ties to McCoy, thanks to the greatest backup quarterback in NFL history: Nick Foles. The Super Bowl MVP is now the starter in Jacksonville and the two played together for three seasons with the Eagles from 2012-2014. McCoy has praised Foles many times in the past, including giving him a huge vote of confidence right after Carson Wentz got hurt in 2017.
The Jaguars have injury-prone starter Leonard Fournette who played in just eight games last year and 13 in 2017. When healthy he’s a beast, but he’s rarely been at full speed. It’s slim pickings behind Fournette, with Alfred Blue and Ryquell Armstead. They should pick up the phone and call McCoy. Maybe Foles has already texted him.