The Buffalo Bills stole the headlines with a pair of surprising trades shortly after the preseason began, and NFL fans immediately wondered if star running back LeSean McCoy would be next.
Head coach Sean McDermott has provided that answer.
Joe Buscaglia of WKBW shared a video of McDermott smiling and shaking his head when asked if McCoy was in position to be traded.
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 24, 2017
That’s the look of a coach who knows his offense’s focal point.
Buffalo shipped wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick. The Bills also sent cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles, bringing back wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round selection.
The franchise has already sent out the rebuild signal, but trading McCoy would’ve signified a complete teardown in Buffalo.
Following Anquan Boldin’s abrupt retirement, the featured receivers will be Matthews and rookie Zay Jones. The Bills also have a pair of veterans in Corey Brown and Andre Holmes, but they’re basically just complementary pieces. And there is little depth behind McCoy in the backfield.
Without him, Tyrod Taylor — assuming as he’s not passed over for the starting job — would be placed into a no-win situation. Matthews is a fine target and Jones is promising, but that’s not anywhere near enough talent for a quarterback to succeed.
And although McCoy has a history of nagging injuries, he’s still appeared in 59 of 64 possible games since 2013 and was a huge weapon in 2016. He averaged a career-best 5.4 yards per carry, totaling 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns. McCoy also caught 50 passes for 356 yards and another score.
McDermott’s debut as Buffalo’s head coach will be challenging, but McCoy is the offense’s cornerstone. Trade him, and the whole season comes crumbling down.