With Ajayi out, the Philadelphia Eagles should bring LeSean McCoy home

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

With Jay Ajayi out for the season with a torn ACL, the Philadelphia Eagles should do everything in their power to bring LeSean McCoy back where he belongs.

Is there any former-Philadelphia Eagles player who’s more popular in the City of Brotherly Love than LeSean McCoy?

Sure, one could maybe make an argument for Brian Dawkins, but if you take a walk around the Linc’s parking lot on game days you will still see Shady jerseys early and often, a true sign of a player whose emotional impact has extended far beyond the hash marks.

Speaking of jerseys, McCoy is so respected in the Philly that no running back of note, or even defensive back for that matter has even dared to don his number 25 jersey in a regular season game. His presence still hangs like a ghost over the Eagles locker room, even though he’s been gone for almost half a decade at this point.

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That’s the mark of a truly special player.

So, with Jay Ajayi‘s 2018 season, and maybe career in Philly officially over after tearing his ACL in the Eagles Week 5 bout against the Minnesota Vikings and the Birds now in need of a veteran runner to help to widen the gap in an at-the-moment tight NFC East, why not make a call to Howie Roseman‘s good friends up in Buffalo and try to make another deal. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the two parties have made a deal.

Besides the actual McCoy-for-Kiko Alonso trade by then-defacto GM Chip Kelly, the Eagles most recently made a deal with the Buffalo Bills last summer, when the team traded Jordan Matthews and a 2018 pick for Ronald Darby after their first preseason game.

Why not go down that road again?

At this point, McCoy is a luxury for a Bills squad looking to get younger and develop an identity around their new franchise quarterback Josh Allen, but back in Philly, Harrisburg’s Very Own could be an absolute godsend.

While McCoy may be on the wrong side of 30, he’s remained an incredibly hard player to bring down in the open field, averaging roughly 3.9-yards a carry over his last 20 regular season starts. And unlike Ajayi, McCoy is still a serious threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Finishing out last season with 448 receiving yards on 59 catches, the second-highest totals of his career thus far, McCoy was responsible for almost 2,000 total yards from scrimmage last season, a trend that could continue if placed in the right situation.

That situation is Philly.

Though he’s yet to have a true three-down back over his tenure in Philly, Doug Pederson‘s Hybrid West Coast offense, derived Andy Reid‘s high powered passing attack, has historically been at its best with a do-it-all lead runner lined up in the offensive backfield. With a variety of ways to attack opposing defenses both through the air and on the ground, having a dynamic scorer who can attack defenses in a variety of different ways is paramount to the scheme’s success.

McCoy’s skill set, even now, is practically tailor-made for that kind of action.

After watching Ajayi, a one-cut runner who lacked breakaway speed, struggle to get past the line of scrimmage on outside zones, could you imagine replacing him with a player like McCoy, the closest modern equivalent to Barry Sanders I’ve seen in person, playing the RPO with Carson Wentz? The Eagles would be leading the league in 20-plus runs, as opposed to their current position at 20th overall.

But just how much would a reunion with McCoy cost the Philadelphia Eagles?

While the obvious call would be a trade centered around Nick Foles, as the Bills did just shake up their QB depth chart in the hopes of adding some veteran experience to help ease Allen’s transition into the NFL, that hardly seems like an enticing deal for either party. With Foles set to become a free agent in 2019, why trade for a backup when the playoffs appear a long shot this season?

Another option would be a straight-up trade involving Rasul Douglas.

When Rodney McLeod landed on IR, many, myself included, assumed that Douglas would at least receive a look at safety, a position he played in college, but according to 247 Sports, the team solely considers him an outside corner. With a 4.59 40-yard dash, Douglas simply lacks the recovery speed needed to be a deep center fielder, and by extension would struggle as an inside slot corner due to his relatively tight hips.

However, on the outside, Douglas has played very well as a ball-hawking man press corner, roughly the same scheme Sean McDermott runs in Buffalo. After watching Vontae Davis retire at halftime a few short weeks ago, the Bills could certainly use some help in their defensive backfield and Douglas could help to fit that, well, bill.

Another option would be a trade just involving draft picks.

According to Anthony Gargano of 97.5 The Fanatic, the Bills are asking for a second and a third-round pick for McCoy’s services. While cost could probably be split over two years, say a two in 2019 and a three in 2020, it’s clear Buffalo isn’t just going to give away their best player for free.

After news broke that the Fletcher Cox has agreed to restructure his deal to create $6.5 million in cap space this season and $11.7 in 2019, the Eagles are clearly freeing up cap space for someone, and could thus this newfound cushion to absorb McCoy’s $6.075 million deal.

But for the Eagles, unless the price is truly exorbitant, it really shouldn’t be a deterrent: they need to make a trade for LeSean McCoy.

Next. 3 ways to overcome Jay Ajayi being out for season. dark

While he may be on the back nine of his professional career, McCoy is still the franchise’s all-time leading rusher and can serve as a clear upgrade over every player currently on the roster, even arguably over a healthy Ajayi. With breakaway speed, elusiveness, and the ability to attack opposing defenses both through the air and on the ground, LeSean McCoy is a perfect fit for Doug Pederson’s scheme, and if the team is serious about making it back to the playoffs and taking another shot at a Super Bowl championship, the Philadelphia Eagles need to make a deal.