I can’t wait any longer to post this, so the Buffalo Bills may have traded someone between clicking “submit” and the page loading. This franchise keeps Wikipedia editors busy by its willingness to alter its list of employees. Jerry Hughes is still here, as is Fred Jackson, maybe. But everyone else is presumably on the block.
Anything is possible once a player who entered folklore in his early 20s was sent out of town. Even Kiko Alonso’s soup dip video is no longer available as a reminder for any Buffalo player who thinks he’s immune from being traded. Philadelphia learned the same thing about LeSean McCoy in a deal that may turn out well for everyone but proponents of complacency. Bills backers figured Rex Ryan’s hiring would be the offseason’s biggest shock. Instead, it was a preview.
The Legend of LeSean starts now. At least, it better for the cost of the transaction and new contract. The jaw-dropping exchange was fascinating just as a simple player swap, which is as rare in the NFL today as hitting the quarterback without getting flagged. The man not known as LeS McC for short evades tackles, not a big workload. Oh, and he’s gained the third-most yards after being handed the ball since he’s turned pro. And McCoy’s been in the huddle: he’s coming off two full seasons after what could be called a typical injury history for a rusher.
McCoy’s statistical credentials have the Mafia excited before he officially dons the jersey: his 6,792 career running yards is already 66th all-time, which means he has the chance for several more outstanding seasons before getting in the five-figure range where many backs tail off. Bills fans dream of, oh, five more productive years from their electrifying new star. If he continues to gain at will for his second pro club, wisenheimers may even quit with the waiter jokes.
Anyone who adds a rusher of McCoy’s caliber is serious about ensuring whoever’s quarterback doesn’t have to complete too many of those forward pass things. Matt Cassel may be the one to apply the theory. The move to obtain a hypothetically competent starter would have been more stunning had not they dealt their most famous linebacker for one of the league’s top rushers a few hours before. Whoever plays quarterback won’t have to rely on a tricky overhand motion so frequently.
Nothing is permanent. Just check the roster from year’s end. The late February Bills look very different from the early March version. Management has brought stability to key positions through upheaval. The reverberating deal means they don’t have to draft a running back in an early round. Meanwhile, they still possess a strong linebacking group even without the departed destroyer of worlds.
Would you accept a new deal for a great player at Kiko’s same sort-of position as consolation? Hughes is either a sneaky linebacker or straightforward lineman; either way, retaining the services of an irrepressible pass rusher will continue to help everyone else on defense. Who a team keeps is as important as who they add. Refusing to let free agents skip town doesn’t seem like it has the same impact. It’s not until top players leave that we can miss them. Terry Pegula strives to minimize the chance to experience loss.
The biggest part of a big trade is what what McCoy represents, namely a willingness to place massive wagers for the chance at huge rewards. Buffalo gave up a lot: trading away someone known for astounding playmaking skills is like wondering if Eddie Murphy will have a career after Saturday Night Live. Noted superhuman Kiko may stand still and order the Earth’s tectonic plates to shift until he arrives in Philadelphia. But McCoy can move the chains on his own.
The Bills really traded for nerve. The fearless transactions which have marked Pegula’s first offseason make it known that they won’t be whimpering regardless of this season’s record. He’s also realistic while pursuing dreams. Unlike proposed talk radio swaps where three bad players are worth one superstar, the man who paid $1.4 billion for this franchise realizes that getting anything worth coveting comes at a price.
Buffalo just has to sure to get something decent back in a deal, like one of the league’s most dynamic rushers. Besides, the Bills already have ideas to replace a linebacker who last played in 2013. Relinquishing significant assets is assuaged by having auditioned Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham last season while Kiko waited in the Fortress of Solitude.
So, there’s a different owner. The real shame would be if Pegula kept things the same. The biggest potential advantage for Buffalo’s defense following this deal will be less time on the field. McCoy can advance that goal simultaneously with the ball. It looks like Ryan gets his dream of calling handoffs like he’ll get a free fancy Pizza Hut crust if he does it enough. Since he’s the coach, he should get what he wants. Ryan is the only one with a secure job for now. Nobody in that locker room should feel too cozy. McCoy is probably staying, but at this point we can’t be sure.