Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles have once again shocked the NFL world by reportedly agreeing to trade one of the best running backs in the NFL for a 3rd-year linebacker who missed the entire 2014 season with a torn ACL.
In a deal that can’t be finalised until next week, the Eagles have agreed to send LeSean McCoy, who led the NFL in rushing just two seasons ago, to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso according to several reports.
On the plus-side, the Eagles freed up $US8.6 million in cap space, traded away a player who doesn’t fit perfectly in their style of offence, and received a player who played for Kelly at Oregon. However, at the same time, the Eagles just lost one of their best players at a time when the Seattle Seahawks have proven that teams can still win with a solid running attack. The Eagles also didn’t get any draft picks in return that could have been used to move up in the draft for a bigger prize like Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
But the trade may have caused an even bigger problem for the Eagles. Free agents are growing “leery” of Kelly according to NFL insider Jason Cole of BleacherReport.com.
“[I] talked to players around the league about these moves,” said Cole during a video segment. “They were left a little leery of Chip Kelly and asking ‘what exactly is he doing?’ Because it is not just LeSean McCoy who he just traded. He’s let go of Todd Herremans. He’s let go of Cary Williams. He’s let go of Trent Cole. This is a year after letting go of DeSean Jackson. And all of a sudden players are going ‘Does Chip Kelly value players in this league or does he value his own system?’ and it’s basically ‘Is he full of himself or does he understand it is about talent?'”
In other words, even though Kelly has created $US50 million in salary cap space, players may now be less inclined to sign with the Eagles out of fear that they will just be cut later on even if they are playing well.
And that doesn’t even consider that players may also be scared off by Kelly’s tough practices, which one player publicly complained about.
This doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t be able to sign free agents. But negotiations will be tougher and they may be forced to give players more guaranteed money in the form of bigger signing bonuses.
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