Draft Picks, Not Kiko Alonso, Were Eagles’ True Target in LeSean McCoy Trade with Bills

In a recent profile of new Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan by the MMQB.com’s Jenny Vrentas, an interesting nugget of information emerged: The Philadelphia Eagles were actually after draft picks in their trade of running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo, not linebacker Kiko Alonso.

The Bills’ front office and coaching staff were on a retreat when the call came in to general manager Doug Whaley from the Eagles asking if the team had any interest in McCoy. The Eagles were in search of draft picks in compensation. However, with the Bills low on picks—including lacking a 2015 first-rounder, which they traded to the Cleveland Browns to move up and select wide receiver Sammy Watkins the year before—Whaley told the Eagles to “[j]ust do me a favor and look at our roster,” and select a player they felt would serve as fair compensation.

Soon, the Eagles called back and declared Alonso the player they’d like in trade for McCoy. The deal, said Ryan, was done in 30 minutes’ time.

As a result, the Bills acquired one of the more talented running backs in the NFL while divesting themselves of Alonso, a linebacker coming off of an ACL tear and who projected to be a poor fit in a Ryan-coached defense. The Eagles, meanwhile, did not get the pick compensation they had initially sought out but did manage to move on from McCoy, who was a bit of a problem child for head coach Chip Kelly. McCoy even lashed out at his former coach last week, saying (via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer) “I don’t think [Kelly] likes or respects the stars. I’m being honest I think he likes the fact that it’s ‘Chip Kelly and the Eagles.'”

The new information serves to underscore how fortunate the Bills were to be the recipient of the Eagles’ call, to get McCoy without giving up the draft pick the Eagles so badly wanted and to be able to move on from Alonso. It also adds another indication of just how willing and eager the Eagles were to cut ties with McCoy, so much so that they were willing to give up any potential draft compensation in order to move on.

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