The fact that the Kansas City Chiefs were looking to add a running back has been written all over the walls since earlier Saturday afternoon when they dealt running back Carlos Hyde to the Houston Texans.
That it was LeSean McCoy — who was a surprise release early Saturday from the Buffalo Bills — only positions Andy Reid’s next Chiefs team for greater things.
According to reports from both ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCoy will ink a 1-year deal worth $4 million with $3 million guaranteed to join the Super Bowl-contending Chiefs.
The presence of Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, and rookie Devin Singletary in Buffalo left little room for the veteran McCoy, entering his 11th season in the NFL, but the Chiefs were in dire need of a new rusher after dealing away Hyde for offensive lineman Martinas Rankin.
Now, McCoy is headed to Kansas City for a reunion with Reid, who coached him for his first four seasons in the league while he was the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach before departing to the Chiefs before the 2013 season.
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Reid and Chiefs general manager Brett Veach were likely already searching for an affordable running back to bolster depth behind starter Damien Williams, as his backups otherwise included a pair of inexperienced rushers in rookie Darwin Thompson and second-year Darrel Williams.
Undoubtedly, Reid and McCoy’s history factored into the Chiefs’ half-day decision-making when he became available early Saturday. Reid drafted McCoy in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the 53rd overall pick against speculation about his abilities, effectively kicking off McCoy’s six-time Pro Bowler career.
With the Eagles, McCoy became the franchise’s leading rusher with 6,792 yards in his six seasons in Philadelphia. He also racked up 2,282 receiving yards as a multi-purpose back with 77 overall touchdowns before he was traded to the Bills in exchange for Kiko Alonso in May 2015.
Prior to his departure, though, McCoy made sure to let people know that Reid was still very much loved in Philly, telling NFL Total Access during the 2013 offseason that “we all love Coach Reid to death.”
Despite Buffalo insisting for much of the 2019 preseason they would be keeping McCoy around, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said cutting him was a move intended to give more reps to the rookie Singletary — who they drafted No. 74 overall.
The shift won’t yield a starting opportunity for McCoy, but he is far more likely to be used with the Chiefs than if he’d stayed with the Bills. Adding a rusher that he knows and trusts seems to have been the plan for Reid, who earlier in training camp indicated he was interested in taking a running back-by-committee approach this season.
“I did a little bit of that back when I was in Philadelphia,” Reid told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Aug. 9. “Kind of a running back-by-committee deal and we had some success with it. We’ll do that here. … They all have their strengths and we’ll try to exploit their strengths there.”
How Williams will shake out as a complement to 2018 NFL MVP and quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains to be seen, but a sore hamstring wiped out most of Williams’ first two weeks of training camp. It will also be his first stint as a starting rusher after spending four forgettable seasons as a backup in Miami and playing behind Kareem Hunt — now with the Browns — last year in Kansas City.
Either way, with a Super Bowl in his sights, expect Reid to deploy McCoy in whatever way helps the Chiefs finish the year on top.