Monday, March 2, 2015

Cap dancing with LeSean McCoy

Here We Go Again
So there's hype on the Interwebs as to how the Eagles might go out and cut RB LeSean McCoy, which would save them $7.5mm, rather than continue the relationship with what will soon be the highest paid running back in the league. (Or use him to land QB Marcus Mariota, which is just one of those rumors that makes no sense in real life, and just refuses to die. For the record, if any team is ready to take a past-prime RB as a major part of a package to land a top tier QB, you have to do that deal, and no team should be that dumb.)

And this is, of course, one of those math versus meat moments, because running backs aren't valued any more in the league, and McCoy is, if last year is any indication, on the downside of what is usually a quick ride down, in regards to career value. There were plenty of times last year when the Eagle offense looked better with Darren Sproles between the 20s, and Chris Polk at the goal line.

The problem, of course, is what does the money get you? The Eagles have been under the cap for the vast majority of the Jeffrey Lurie Era, and rarely have been very big players in the free agent market. Mostly, this has been a good thing; the Nnamdi Asomugha / Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie splash class of four years ago still has scar tissue among the faithful, so much so that there isn't the interest that you might think in the top DBs on the market.

The bigger issue to me is what happens on the field, and whether the team would be better without McCoy: well, clearly not. The Chip Kelly system seems to make RB talent less important, but that's only to the untrained eye. The reality is that when the offense is going well, there will be 40+ carries a game to spread around, and having a guy that can fulfill all three roles of a RB -- run, catch, block -- makes the scheme a hell of a lot harder to diagnose. Sproles works here as a change of pace, and Polk is fine to sweat the concussion-riffic goal-line yards, but McCoy's combo skills and relative lack of fumbling is critical. (How he avoids putting the ball on the field when he exposes it as much as he does is another matter, but results matter more than style.)

So if the team isn't likely to be better without him, and the money probably isn't getting spent to make the team better where it matters -- 3/4s of the defensive backfield, WR2 to upgrade the Riley Cooper Problem, RG since they've cut aging Todd Herremans, MLB since DeMeco Ryans is aging and coming back from injury...

Well, why do it?

Possibly because McCoy's east-west style irritated Kelly more than he let on last year. Or that while Shady has never shown the kind of troublesome behavior that DeSean Jackson did, he's still not Chip's guy, being a holdover from the previous era. Or that they just can't take the idea of looking like dumb money, and paying for RBs looks like dumb money right now.

Which, well, Aren't Football, and the Aren't Football reasons of getting rid of Jackson last year really didn't seem to help them last year, especially when Jackson was helping DC knock the Eagles out of playoff contention.

So I'm kind of hoping that the deal doesn't go down, or that McCoy throws them back a feel-good contract restructure that helps ensure that he's that rarest of Eagle stars -- AKA, a guy that ends his career with just one team on his stat sheet.

Because, well, this team has enough holes without inventing one.

And if this somehow ends up with McCoy in New York, giving the Giants their own ex-Eagle star to make the faithful gag?

Well, that might explain why Philly Fan might have a reason for their Angry Rep, no?

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