Tuesday's roundup: Eagles offer to deal RB McCoy
The Eagles have a proposed trade in place that would send running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, according to two NFL sources.
The trade cannot be finalized until March 10 when the new league year opens at 4 p.m. The blockbuster move sends the Eagles' all-time leading rusher to Buffalo for the 24-year-old Alonso, who played under Eagles coach Chip Kelly at Oregon.
Kelly spoke at a fundraiser in Cherry Hill on Tuesday night, but when reporters approached him and asked about the McCoy trade Eagles vice president of team security Dom DiSandro ushered him out the backdoor.
"I just spoke with the Eagles organization and there is no trade for LeSean at this time," McCoy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, wrote on Twitter. "There have been discussions but nothing finalized."
Despite Rosenhaus' protest, one source close to the situation said the trade — which involved no other compensation for either team — was "a done deal."
McCoy, who will turn 27 this July, had not talked to Kelly when the news of the trade was first reported, a source close to the running back said. He was in Miami training and learned of the deal from Rosenhaus.
The trade didn't come as a complete surprise. Those close to McCoy believed that he was on the block but that he would be involved in Kelly's attempt to move up and draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. He'll end up being part of a swap for another Duck.
Rumblings that the Eagles coach will do whatever it takes to get Mariota persist, and some sources around the league believe a trade with one of the teams with a high draft pick could be on the horizon.
Kelly, who was given complete control over football operations this offseason, has been clearing the roster of high-profile players who either predated his arrival or were acquisitions headed by former general manager Howie Roseman.
Kelly was the driving force behind the release of Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson last March. He cut guard Todd Herremans last week and will do the same to linebacker Trent Cole this week. Herremans and Cole, drafted in 2005, were the longest-tenured Eagles.
The Eagles also announced the release Tuesday of cornerback Cary Williams, who was signed during Kelly's first offseason with the team. There could be other veterans to follow, most notably linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who is coming off the second ruptured Achilles tendon of his career and will likely be replaced by Alonso.
The 6-foot-3, 238-pound Alonso missed all of the 2014 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He tore the ACL in his right knee in 2010 and missed all of his sophomore season at Oregon. He was already suspended from the team after he was cited for driving under the influence earlier that year.
A year later, he was arrested and charged with felony burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. Kelly suspended him from the team indefinitely. The burglary charges were eventually dropped, but Alonso pleaded guilty to criminal mischief.
Kelly lifted the suspension before the 2011 season and Alonso avoided getting into further trouble in his final two seasons. And yet, when Kelly had an opportunity to draft his former player in the second round in 2013, the Eagles selected tight end Zach Ertz with the 35th overall pick.
Alonso had one of the best seasons by a rookie defensive player in 2013. He recorded 159 tackles and four interceptions in the Bills' hybrid defense. New Buffalo coach Rex Ryan had plans to shift Alonso to outside linebacker for this season, according to reports, but Alonso apparently wasn't happy about the move and wanted out.
He will be penciled in as the Eagles' starting inside linebacker alongside Mychal Kendricks.
The Eagles now have a gaping hole at running back. Darren Sproles is a strong backup and complement but is unlikely to carry the load of a starter. Chris Polk is a restricted free agent and should return, but he remains inexperienced.
Kelly could look to free agency to fill the need. The Cowboys' DeMarco Murray is set to hit the market and could be more of stylistic fit (read: a north-to-south runner) than the shifty McCoy was in the Eagles' offensive scheme. The draft is said to be deep at running back.
Kelly may not believe that he needs a high-priced tailback. His maneuverings in two years have suggested that he values his system over talent, and Herremans reiterated that sentiment during an interview with WPEN-FM (97.5) on Monday.
McCoy knew that the Eagles were going to have a difficult time bringing him back at his 2015 salary of $10.5 million. He would have cost the Eagles nearly $12 million against the salary cap. The Bills now take on the remaining three years of his contract, although only $1 million is guaranteed, and the Eagles will have more than $50 million in cap space.
McCoy had said that he was open to restructuring his deal, but he also said he wouldn't take a pay cut. The Eagles never ended up approaching McCoy about a new contract.
He will leave the team as the franchise's all-time leader in rushing with 6,792 yards. Over the last five seasons, McCoy had rushed for more yards (6,155) than any other running back in the NFL.
Drafted in the second round out of Pittsburgh in 2009, McCoy became a fan favorite almost immediately. His moves dazzled Philadelphia and by his second season he eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing. He was voted into his first of three Pro Bowl appearances in 2011 and set a career high with 1,607 yards on the ground in Kelly's first season.
But McCoy regressed last year and was decreasingly used in the red zone and in the passing game. With the shelf life for NFL running backs short, Kelly decided to part with arguably the Eagles' best player.
Jameis Winston met with the Buccaneers, who are considering the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the first pick in the NFL draft.
Team officials confirmed the Florida State standout was in town to talk with club officials who will be involved in deciding whether to draft Winston.
Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman winner from Oregon, also is under consideration.
Neither Winston nor club officials spoke to the media.
.... The marketing agency that represents Winston is trying to trademark "Famous Jameis," the nickname during his two years at Florida State.
... The Ravens and former running back Ray Rice reached a $1.5878 million settlement on his wrongful termination grievance in January, The Baltimore Sun reported.
... Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is set to meet with NFL officials in today about his domestic violence case, The Charlotte Observer reported.
... Patriots fans can relive the Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks with the NFL Films official DVD from the championship season, released Tuesday.
... The Cowboys and wide receiver Cole Beasley agreed to a four-year, $13.6 million with $7 million guaranteed, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
... The Eagles released cornerback Cary Williams and will release linebacker Trent Cole, according to ESPN.com.
... The Titans released safety Bernard Pollard and claimed linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi off waivers.
... The Colts re-signed long snapper Matt Overton. Terms of the deal were not available.