Sam Bradford’s Contract and The Eagles Core

This is another lesson in not judging a contract until you know all the figures. I had retweeted someone who said that the Bradford deal for $18 million per year over two years shows how desperate teams are for a quarterback and how much that has overinflated the market. Of course, in a way, he was correct as $18 million per year is crazy for a guy who hasn’t done much, but this contract isn’t exactly an $18 million per year contract, but rather a masterful job by both sides in getting what they wanted here.

Continue reading Sam Bradford’s Contract and The Eagles Core »

The Tebow Experiment and the Definition of Objective

There’s a way of thinking that’s really poisonous in our society today and it’s this all-knowing way that so many of us, myself included, put labels like “good” and “bad” on things. For example, since I’ve been so outspoken in my support of Tim Tebow, I had quite a few people contact me on social media letting me know he was released with an “I told you so attitude.”

Well, you didn’t really tell me anything. I just supported the Tebow Experiment in Philadelphia because there are two people in this world who I see living out the version of Jesus Christ that I envision in the Bible, they are: Tim Tebow and Justin Wren. Now, Tebow is just barely 28 years old and he has accomplished so much more off the football field than we could even imagine. Yet, there really are people out there, not just internet trolls, who have negative things to say about the guy because of what he does with a football in his hands….

Continue reading The Tebow Experiment and the Definition of Objective »

#Caponomics Excerpt: Opening of Front Office Theories Section

Below is an unfinished draft of the beginning of the Front Office section of the “Caponomics Theories” section of “#Caponomics: Understanding NFL Roster Building through Super Bowl Champion Salary Cap Analysis” which I’m pushing to have published and available on Amazon during training camp. I started this project in February after going to the NFL Combine and originally planned on having it done by June. Of course, I had no idea what I was talking about because I’ve never written a book before and it’s taken longer than I originally thought, so it might be out in August or it might be out a little later than that. On top of that, I am preparing for the NFLPA’s Agent Certification Exam that’s in July, so it could be delayed a little more as I prepare for that. Continue reading #Caponomics Excerpt: Opening of Front Office Theories Section »

Caponomics Book Excerpt from Theories Section: Be Different, Creative and Unique

This is a first draft of one of the 25 or so theories from the “Caponomics Theories” section of my upcoming book Caponomics: Understanding NFL Roster Building through Super Bowl Champion Salary Cap Analysis. Any of the references to other chapters in this article are

E-mail me at Caponomics@gmail.com if you’re interested in staying updated when preview chapters are released to the e-mail group and want to be alerted to when the book will be made available. Join the list now and you’ll receive the chapter on the 2000 Ravens, which we’ve already sent out to the group! Continue reading Caponomics Book Excerpt from Theories Section: Be Different, Creative and Unique »

LeSean McCoy: The Running Back Who Cried Wolf

LeSean McCoy: The Running Back Who Cried Wolf

How LeSean McCoy, Tra Thomas and Stephen A. Smith Confuse Capism With Racism

I was in the middle of a great addition to my chapter on the 2014 Patriots for Caponomics, but then I had to get drawn into a bit of a rant on this because LeSean McCoy and Stephen A Smith are in the news again for saying absolute nonsense.

Let’s preface this being fair and saying, I was never in the Eagles locker room, therefore, I can never say I know what happened in that locker room or what LeSean McCoy may have experienced, so we all must keep that in mind. We have never walked a mile in his shoes, nor know what caused him to feel this way, but with that in mind, I still think he’s overstepped his boundaries and has made himself out to be a fool.

We also must keep in mind that, like any industry, racism exists in football and it’s for both black and white players. Brandan Schaub from The Fighter and the Kid podcast is a UFC fighter now, but during his football playing days at the University of Colorado, he had a racist running backs coach. While watching film of Nebraska’s white running back, his coach said, “I don’t know why white guys play football, they just can’t do the same things that us black guys can do.” This was while white Brendan Schaub was in the meeting room. Not exactly how you make one of your players feel welcome.

What really kind of set me off to write this was an article by Phil Sheridan, ESPN’s Philadelphia Eagles reporter, titled: “LeSean McCoy’s comments are a sign that Chip Kelly is caught in a trap.” What trap Phil? Are we talking about the trap of 2015 where everything that you do that someone can disagree with can be seen as racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia or whatever the name is for the group that is involved in the situation? It’s gross that Mr. Sheridan would even play into this nonsense.

By the end of his article, Sheridan even makes some counter points against McCoy’s statement with the following facts, so I don’t understand what trap Kelly is in:

  • “Kelly traded quarterback Nick Foles, who is white.”
  • “In free agency, Kelly replaced McCoy with another African-American running back,DeMarco Murray (on a five-year, $42 million contract). Kelly also signed cornerback Byron Maxwell to a six-year, $63 million deal — the largest contract of Kelly’s tenure.”
  • “In the NFL, if you trade or release a Pro Bowl-level player like McCoy or Jackson, there is a good chance he’ll be black. A 2014 study showed that 68 percent of NFL players are African-American.”
  • “Kelly tried to sign Maclin to a new contract, but dropped out when Kansas City went to $11 million per year. To replace Maclin, Kelly draftedNelson Agholor in the first round last week.”
  • “Five of the Eagles’ six draft choices are African-American. Only seventh-round pickBrian Mihalik is white.”
  • “Finally, when Kelly became head coach of the Eagles, he inherited Foles and Michael Vickas his candidates for starting quarterback. Vick won the competition. At Oregon, Kelly’s starting quarterbacks included African-Americans Darron Thomas and Dennis Dixon before Tongan Marcus Mariota took over.”

Sheridan noted that the Eagles had 21 non-black players on their 53-man roster at the end of the 2014 season or about 40% of the team, which is slightly higher than the 32% league-wide. Of those 21 players, Cooper is one of the seven who were originally signed or drafted under Andy Reid.

Former Eagles assistant coach Tra Thomas says that he feels “like there is a hint of racism,” but he doesn’t want to “put that tag on someone,” because “you’ve got to be careful with that, but there are some of the players that kind of feel like that’s what it is.” Strong words from a man of strong convictions.

Thomas then goes on to cite “a report that came out last year” regarding the Eagles being “one of the whitest teams in the NFL.” All very serious allegations and something that we should certainly get the Justice Department to investigate. I mean seriously, what can we do when a staggering 40% of the people you work with are white? How can we fight this injustice?

Another point from Thomas regarding Kelly’s perceived racism is that the Eagles have only one African-American position coach, Duce Staley, their running back coach. Tre Williams is now on the scouting staff after being the tight ends coach. Both players were with the Eagles before Kelly was hired.

Sheridan states that out of 23 assistant coaches for the Eagles, seven are African American, that’s just over 30%.

The only real trap that Sheridan speaks to is that since Kelly didn’t release Cooper after that racial episode in 2013, it has given Thomas, Smith and McCoy some firepower to make these charges of racism. Kelly has declined to comment on this and to that Sheridan says, “that might be easier than trying to challenge the perception that’s out there, but silence only seems to make the trap sticker and harder to escape.”

Now the question is, does anyone who should be taken seriously actually think that Chip Kelly is racist?

First, how do we keep giving Stephen A. Smith a voice? There are times in the past where I have applauded him for raising issues that I think should be raised and speaking his mind, but the last few months have raised only one issue for me with Stephen A. Smith, one question for him: are you the racist?

When Tom Brady skipped going to the White House, Stephen A. went on this ten to fifteen minute rant about how Brady was disrespecting the president and even suggested that this man who has made a career out of playing with and leading black and white men might be a racist…Tom Brady might be a racist for not going to the White House…because it was his parents 50th Anniversary…what planet are Smith on?

Smith went on a rant a couple months ago about how Kelly got rid of McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, but still kept Riley Cooper. What Smith is doing is showing his ignorance to the NFL’s salary cap, he’s mistaken racism with capism!

So let’s dive into this!!

In 2015, LeSean McCoy was set to have a cap hit of $11.95 million for the Eagles, while earning $10.25 million in salary. As Jason says, “neither number shoule ever occur for a running back in today’s NFL and it is possible that McCoy would have been released had he refused a pay cut.” His cap hit would have taken up 8.34% of the cap. Instead, he counts as $3.4 million in dead money, which is only 2.37% AND the Eagles got one of the best young linebackers in the NFL, a position they needed to upgrade going into this season in Kiko Alonso, who will take up a mere 0.56% of the cap.

So the Eagles got rid of a guy who’s cap hit was out of line with what a running back should be paid in today’s NFL and who was Pro Football Focus’ 55th rated running back…out of 57 running backs. Something that very few people realize is that the Eagles offensive line was one of the best in the NFL last season, they were rated by PFF as the #1 run blocking offense in the NFL. Their rating of 85.7 was 30 points higher than the Cowboys who were #2, but their rush rating was 22nd at -3.1, largely because LeSean McCoy had a -1.4 rushing rating behind the best blocking in the NFL.

And, to top it off, McCoy signed his overpriced extension the year before Kelly was named the Eagles head coach, so it wasn’t like he was “Kelly’s guy.” From a team building standpoint or looking for players that fit what Kelly wants in a running back, who knows if McCoy fits the mold of what he even wants.

Again, they also got a great player, Kiko Alonso, in the trade at a low-cost and at a position they needed help at. That can’t be forgotten, it wasn’t like he trade McCoy for a bucket of Rex Ryan’s favorite buffalo wings.

Anyway, what happened with the 5.41% of the cap that the Eagles saved by trading McCoy for Alonso? They spent 4.89% of it on two running backs who aren’t white: Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray. I think it would be hilarious if a reporter asked McCoy where Chip Kelly could find some white running backs?

While Mathews was injured for much of last season, he’s a player who can do a lot of good things when healthy and fits into Kelly’s offense. Murray has some of those injury issues as well, but most people say he fits Kelly’s scheme better than McCoy and he was the 5th best running back according to PFF, not the 55th.

So they went and got themselves TWO running backs with the money they saved with the trade and they had 0.52% of the cap left over to spend elsewhere.

So there is one case where the salary cap and good management supersedes the cry of racism. One down, two to go.

So with Jeremy Maclin, why did Lyndon Baines Kelly get rid of him? Oh, because Maclin got offered a five-year contract worth $55 million, with a $12 million signing bonus, from the coach who drafted him, Andy Reid. So what did LBK do after that? Did he go sign Brian Hartline, Wes Welker, and Dane Sanzenbacher? Nope. He signed Miles Austin and Seyi Ajirotutu, then he went and drafted Maclin’s replacement, African American wide receiver Nelson Agholor in the first round, Maclin 2.0.

As I wrote in my last piece, Agholor couldn’t be more similar to Maclin:

Maclin: 6’/198, 4.48, 10’ broad jump, 35 ½” vert, 7.06 3 cone

Agholor: 6’/198, 4.42, 10’5” broad jump, 36 ½” vert, 6.83 3 cone

Maclin turns 27 this year, white Agholor turns 22 and adds a punt return dimension that Maclin doesn’t have.

While Maclin’s 2015 cap hit is low due to his signing bonus, in 2016, Maclin’s number is $12.4 million, while Agholor will only cost $2 million.If the salary cap goes up to $153 million in 2016, Maclin will take up 8.10% of the cap, while Agholor will take up 1.31% of the cap.

Through the first four seasons of these contracts, it is projected that the Eagles will save $32,703,526 by having Agholor instead of Maclin. That is $32.7 million that the Eagles will have to spend on other positions and needs over the next four years, while still having a player in Agholor who should produce at a similar level to Maclin fairly quickly because his attributes, measurables and talents are so similar to Maclin’s.

(History Lesson: Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the most racist men to ever occupy the White House, he helped dismantle President Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Act of 1957 when he was in the Senate, only to push it through in 1964 for purely political reasons and the quotes attributed at the time will make you shudder. I feel it’s important for people to research and understand this because history has been rewritten regarding this man. Plus, saying Lyndon Baines Kelly in a serious voice made me chuckle, what can I say, I’ve been writing all day and only talking to my dog.)

Lastly, with Jackson, I did not like the way rumors were bandied about regarding his gang affiliations and things of that nature, he has reportedly been a good citizen throughout his career, but according to NJ.com, that was only part of the issue for why they cut ties. Keep in mind, with what happened with Aaron Hernandez only two years before the Eagles traded Jackson, their concerns that “his friends were becoming a more powerful – and negative – influence in his life” is a legitimate cause for worry.

Sources told NJ.com that he had “a bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly” and that those “were the original reasons for his fall from grace.”

I fully supported Jackson’s side of this story when it happened on the personal level, I thought it was gross the way the media portrayed the issue. Do you think Jackson should just give up hanging out with the people he grew up with because society is going to judge him? Most of our society doesn’t even know how to judge him and has no right to because it’s not their life. Again, by all accounts, Jackson is a good man.

But hey, let’s look at the salary cap again! Jackson, like McCoy, signed an extension in the 2012 offseason, the year before Kelly came on board. He also was grumbling that he hoped the Eagles would re-do his contract heading into the 2014 offseason, something that Kelly obviously did not want to do. Jackson had a cap hit of $12.75 million in 2014, which was 9.59% of the salary cap. By trading him, they cleared 4.89% of the cap, which isn’t a lot, but was probably the right move for a guy who wasn’t going to be happy playing on that contract in 2014 and because they could easily draft some replacements for him in the draft or sign someone in free agency.

They signed Darren Sproles who helped in Kelly’s pass catching running back role and as a punt return, then drafted Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff to solve the loss of Jackson long-term.

Jackson went to Washington and signed a contract that he could be happy with, he also had 1169 yards on 56 catches (20.9 ypc) and six touchdowns, a great season for a player who has a lot left and who I sure wish the best.

Matthews had 67 catches for 872 yards (13.0 ypc) and eight touchdowns, while taking up only 0.68% of the salary cap as a second round pick. Huff only had 8 catches for 98 yards (12.3 ypc), but did have a 107 kickoff return for a touchdown along with his 14 returns for 415 yards, while taking up 0.42% of the cap.

So I’m sorry Mr. McCoy, is the salary cap racist? Is Chip Kelly racist for getting the best return on his investment that he can possibly make? Is he racist for trying to do the best job he can, so that he doesn’t get fired?

This is like the third time this offseason that McCoy has brought up this charge of racism against Kelly and it’s just wrong. Relax LeSean! He’s not judging you by the color of your skin; he’s judging you by your cap number and your performance on the field!

Meanwhile, Riley Cooper got resigned after the 2013 season because he had just had a great season with 47 catches for 835 yards (17.8 ypc) and eight touchdowns. He was pretty bad last season, but that just means that resigning him to a five-year, $22.5 million deal might have been a mistake. His cap hits through 2018 are still incredibly low for someone who’s supposed to be a WR2. In 2015, he’s only taking up 3.35% of the cap and makes him the 11th highest paid Eagle. This means the Eagles don’t have a WR in their Top 10 cap hits, which is very unusual, but also shows the value that they’re getting out of the position because they have one of the best receiver groups in the league with Zach Ertz and Brent Celek at tight end and pass catching running backs as well.

Cooper was the 110th rated receiver…out of 110 receivers last year according to PFF, but all that means is that they made a big mistake signing him to an extension. What does McCoy want though? Does he want Kelly to cut Cooper this year with $6.2 million in dead money cap hit if the Eagles cut him, but a $4.8 million cap hit if Cooper’s on the team? So McCoy wants them to waste $1.4 million to what? Prove that Chip Kelly is not only not a racist, but also a moronic businessman?
I remember when the word racism used to have meaning, when people used to cringe at the idea of being called racist. Today, being called a racist just means that someone disagrees with you. Being called a sexist on Twitter means that you just made fun of the people who are offended at what Jeremy Renner called a fictional movie character or the people outraged at what Bud Light put on their bottles.

Apparently, all being called a racist takes today is trading or not resigning some black players in a sport that’s 68% black.

The only thing I hate as much as racism are false cries of racism.

Tweet me: @ZackMooreNFL

If you liked the kind of cap analysis that went into this article, please e-mail me at Caponomics@gmail.com, so that you are added to our e-mail list and get some bonus finished chapters as they become available. Last week, I sent out our chapter analyzing the 2000 Ravens. 

Caponomics is a book that analyzes the Super Bowl champions from the last 21 seasons, creates theories based on this analysis and then uses those theories to discuss why 2014 teams were or were not successful.

Eagles Finding Value in Injured Players

ESPN’s Phil Sheridan had a great article yesterday about the Eagles going after injured players this offseason. He discusses that a lot of Eagles players have had positive experiences with Chip Kelly’s sports science program and that “the focus on work and recovery has many veteran players saying they feel better during the season than they ever have in the past.”

What got me so excited about this article is that this kind of value seeking in unique ways is at the crux of so much of what I’m researching while I write Caponomics: Understanding NFL Roster Building through Super Bowl Champion Salary Cap Analysis.

The Patriots have been one of my favorite case studies throughout the process of writing this bookbecause they have a system in place that allows them to continue to find players at a low-cost that end up being very valuable for them as their production exceeds their cost. I keep citing my article titled, The Patriots Way, but I think it’s a good example of why they’ve been great for so long.

Looking through the Patriots teams of 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2014 the last few weeks, I continue to see examples of them finding value where others didn’t. In 2001, their offense ranked sixth in total points, while their offensive starters took up a shocking 11.16% of the cap, which is only 1.01% per player. By comparison, the offensive starters for the 2013 Seahawks took up 36.54% of the cap or 3.32% per player. Running back Antowain Smith had 1349 total yards and took up 0.74% of the cap. Of course, Tom Brady took up only 0.47% in that breakout season, while Drew Bledsoe was the highest cap charge on the team at 10.29%.

Throughout the Belichick reign, the Patriots have had a cheap, but dynamic backfield with a running back by committee that has had four running backs contributing in 2001 and 2014. Just like the Eagles are taking advantage of their sports science program, the Patriots took advantage of offensive line coach legend, Dante Scarnecchia, being able to put together one of the best lines in football year-after-year no matter what you gave him.

In 2004, according to the Super Bowl averages I’ve compiled of the 21 champs of the salary cap era, the Patriots under spent at running back and spent about half of what Super Bowl champs spend on the offensive line and they had the seventh best rushing attack in the league. Corey Dillon had 1635 yards on the ground with a 4.7 yards per carry average and 12 touchdowns, while Kevin Faulk had 503 total yards.

In 2004, their four leading receivers, David Givens, David Patten, Deion Branch and Daniel Graham took up 4.84% of the cap and provided the team with 165 catches for 2492 yards (15.1 ypc) and 21 touchdowns. That kind of production at such a low cost allowed them to spend money on their defense that ended up being the second best scoring defense in the NFL.

To bring it to the present, sure, Danny Amendola ended up being a bad contract and took up 3.53% of the cap, while only catching 27 balls for 200 yards and one touchdown, but they got great value out of Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, Amendola did earn his money during their run to the Super Bowl. For 3.57% of the cap, Edelman and LaFell caught 166 passes for 1925 yards (11.6 ypc) and 11 touchdowns. They do a tremendous job of finding guys like Brandon LaFell to fill roles because they can picture them in the role because Belichick has had the same kind of players in these same exact roles for 15 years now. They use measurables, analytics, and old school scouting to envision how potential players will fit into what the team needs.

Jamie Collins is going to be the player that they hoped Adalius Thomas would be for them in the mid-2000s. They got Akeem Ayers in the middle of the season because their analytics told them he would fit into their scheme.

They’ve always had a big-money number one cornerback before everyone realized the importance of shutting down half of the field with a great cornerback. In 2001, Ty Law was their second highest cap hit and in 2003 and 2004, he was their highest cap hit. Of course, last year, Darrelle Revis was their fifth highest cap hit. Of the 12 playoff teams in 2014, everyone but the Lions, Panthers and Seahawks had a cornerback in their top five cap charges. Richard Sherman will be the Seahawks highest cap charge in 2015 at $12.2 million after signing his extension in May 2014.

It’s pretty simple why the Patriots are so good every season, their advantage is that they know themselves better than the rest of the NFL knows themselves. They’re able to find players who don’t have much worth on the market, but are very valuable to the role the Patriots then put them in.Due to this, they know what they need to succeed more than anyone.

The Eagles seem to have their own X-factor now with Chip Kelly’s sports science program and his name is Shaun Huls.

This fantastic MMQB article by Jenny Vrentas about the Eagles sports science program tells the story of Robbie Stock, a retired Navy SEAL:

“Stock was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 when a grenade exploded inches from the left side of his body. After nearly a dozen surgeries he had no motor function in his left arm or hand, and surgeons recommended amputation. But Stock had other ideas and sought out Huls back on the Virginia Beach base. For several months Huls worked with Stock, using the Omegawave to determine when his battered body could handle exercise and inventing ways for Stock to train while his arm was mostly lifeless … and then when he regained movement in his biceps … and then when some function returned to his hand. Within a year of the explosion, Stock says, he could bench press 275 pounds, as much weight as he could before his injury; today he says he has 70% function in his arm and hand.

“Shaun was one of the very few people—and when I say few, I mean few—who actually believed I would not be a one-armed man for the rest of my life,” says Stock, whose new business, The Human Performance Initiative in Virginia Beach, uses many of the lessons he learned from Huls. “There are very few people out there who really want to help, and he is definitely one of them.””

The advantage that they have is in having a master at rehabilitating players and a sports science program that is cutting edge, so it puts them ahead of the rest of the NFL in a critical area for team performance. That MMQB article cites four different pieces of technology that the Eagles use to understand how their players’ bodies are affected by their training, which gives them data that allows them to ensure they’re not overtraining and they’re replenishing their players with exactly what they need to recover. Players get personalized protein shakes, in 2013 when the MMQB article came out, Jason Kelce’s shake contained blueberries, avocado, 2% milk and vanilla protein powder, that’s not your Average Joe’s protein shake.

For one of the products they use, Polar, the national sales manager for team sports, Mike Valentino, said that a Big East women’s soccer team saw a 75% decrease in soft-tissue injuries during the first season they used the heart rate monitors. That’s just the most basic of the gadgets, Catapult Sports’ OptimEye sensors have a GPS, magnetometer, accelerometer and gyroscope that records players every movement on the practice field. The Omegawave system measures an athlete’s readiness for training and competition. EliteForm is a company that has a weight-lifting technology that has 3-D cameras that record how quickly a player is lifting weights.

Anyone who’s in any kind of business knows that data is so critical to success in today’s world. You need to understand what works or what doesn’t work, so that you can repeat what works. This technology and Shaun Huls guidance allows the Eagles to prepare for the season and each game in a much more intelligent way than other teams because they have the data to understand what their bodies need to do to be prepared.

So this offseason, the Eagles went out and got two players coming off ACL tears in Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso. The signed two running backs who have had leg issues during their careers in Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray. They signed cornerback Walter Thurmond who tore his pec with the Giants last year and Miles Austin who missed the last four games after injuring a kidney, but whose career was derailed in 2011 by hamstring issues that kept coming back.

That ESPN article by Phil Sheridan made me realize that the Eagles really must believe in their sports science program because every one of those players except Kiko Alonso has been hit with the “injury prone” label at some point during their careers. If this works for the Eagles where they not only keep their guys healthy, but are confident enough to take calculated risks on very talented players whose value is deflated due to injury, then they’ve got themselves a huge advantage.

The marketplace for NFL players is a lot like the stock market or any other market. There are certain players who will be given less of a value than others because of the risks associated with them, whether that’s injuries or off the field concerns, risks equal a devaluation of the stock or player. The Eagles gave themselves the tools to defy market forces now and it’s going to pay off in a huge way.

Tweet me: @ZackMooreNFL

If you want to purchase The First Annual Caponomics: Understanding NFL Roster Building through Super Bowl Champion Salary Cap Analysis, please e-mail me at Caponomics@gmail.com, so that I can put you on our e-mail list for people interested in purchasing the book. If you join our e-mail list, I will send you the first chapter on the 2014 Lions and then the 2014 Patriots once it’s completed. I might even throw in a bonus Super Bowl champ in. 

 

I’m currently in the process of getting some legal stuff handled for the book and then I can put the pre-order up on Amazon, otherwise, it would already be up there. Thanks for your support and feel free to send me any questions or ideas to that e-mail address.

Eagles to Trade McCoy to Bills for Alonso

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Philadelphia Eagles, who seem to be in the midst of a firesale, have agreed to trade star running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso.

This move is a major win for the Eagles. McCoy was set to count against the Eagles cap at $11.95 million while earning a $10.25 million salary. Neither number should ever occur for a running back in today’s NFL and it is possible that McCoy would have been released had he refused a pay cut. If the Eagles had released him they would have owed McCoy $1 million, the amount of his salary that was guaranteed for the year. Instead they get a young linebacker in return who will earn $795,946 for the season. This will clear about $7.75 million from the Eagles salary cap this season.

For the Bills they will now take on $10.25 million in cap and cash obligations for McCoy, essentially eating up 1/3 of their projected cap room. One would expect the Bills to immediately rework his contract for more cap relief. McCoy has three years remaining on his contract. He will earn a total of $15 million in the final two years of his contract, though none of that is guaranteed. I would expect the team to add two more seasons to the deal to maximize the cap savings.

It is a large price to pay for a running back especially one who struggled at times in two of the last three seasons when his offensive line played poorly. The Bills offensive line is a trouble spot for the team and they will need to upgrade significantly to make this work. The Bills declined usin the franchise tag on pass rusher Jerry Hughes, which may have been an indication that the money was needed for the offense. The team already signed Richie Incognito to play guard, but arguably need three more lineman to allow the running game to excel.

The move will likely mark the end of CJ Spillers career with the Bills and could spell the end of veteran Fred Jackson’s. Releasing Jackson would save the team $2.7M in cap room. Spiller is a free agent.

No trade can be made official until the first day of the NFL League Year so its possible that the trade could never happen if someone gets cold feet, but it sure sounds like it will happen.  The Eagles will have well over $40 million in cap space to use to improve the team and should be expected to be a big player in free agency.