Shortly after the news of LeSean McCoy being traded for Kiko Alonso emerged on Tuesday night, Bleeding Green Nation ran a poll to gauge fan approval of the team's bold decision. Now that everyone has had plenty of time to vote and weigh in, let's take a look at the results:
Pretty decent sample size there with over 8,000 voters. The majority of fans seem to be OK with the trade.
Eagles fans aren't the only ones with a positive reaction to the deal. Many media outlets haven spoke favorably of the trade.
I tend to agree that the Eagles made the right move. McCoy's 2014 performance wasn't necessarily bad but it was far from great. I've touched on McCoy's struggles several times this offseason:
"McCoy averaged 2.09 yards after first contact this season. That's a career low for him. The previous low was 2.10 in his rookie season. He wasn't nearly as elusive as he's been in the past. McCoy finished 15th out of 18 running backs that have played at least 50% snaps in Pro Football Focus's "Elusive Rating", which boils down a runner's success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers. McCoy finished much higher in this rating in past years: sixth in 2013, sixth in 2012, seventh in 2011. PFF graded McCoy 55th out of 57 running backs that played a minimum of 25% offensive snaps in 2014."
Part of McCoy's struggles were due to the offensive line. Take a look at the splits from when Philadelphia's offensive line was injured earlier in the season to when some of the starters returned (h/t @Brian_Solomon):
Weeks 1-8: 135 att, 505 yds, 3.7 ypa, 1 td
Weeks 9-17: 177 att, 814 yds, 4.6 ypa, 4 tds
Still, McCoy didn't pass the all-important eye test. He didn't look right. And the fact that he'll be 27 in August isn't encouraging for his future. The Eagles ran him into the ground the past two years by burdening him with 706 total touches. McCoy is scheduled to be the second highest paid running back in 2015. He wasn't going to be worth the $12 million cap figure if he performed in 2015 like he did in 2014.
So the Eagles jettisoned McCoy to Buffalo and saved themselves a nice deal of cap space. They also picked up Kiko Alonso, who is an absolute stud (if/when healthy) in the process. Some may argue that inside linebacker might not seem like the most valuable position but look at the kind of impact Mychal Kendricks made last year. Alonso is a play-maker, and he's especially adept at dropping into coverage. Remember the second Eagles-Cowboys game where Dallas opened up their offense early on by attacking the middle of the field with Jason Witten? With Alonso, the Birds now have an answer for a problem like that.
Alonso is only 24 and he won't be an unrestricted free agent for three more years because he spent the 2014 season on the Non Football Injury list. If Alonso plays well, he'll be an absolute bargain for Philadelphia.
In a nutshell, the Eagles acquired an inexpensive young talent (Alonso) for a player potentially on the decline (McCoy) at a position where there's a short shelf life. Hard not to approve of that.
There are still significant concerns. Can Alonso stay healthy? And with McCoy gone, who will be able to replace (and/or improve upon) his production? The Eagles have a plan, and it remains to be seen if it'll work out. If the Eagles can fill the hole at running back and Alonso picks up where he left off as a rookie in 2013, Chip Kelly will look pretty smart for making this trade.