ORCHARD PARK – The Bills and Eagles play in different conferences and their fans may disagree on which team has the crazier fan base, but one thing both sides can agree on is that former Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly was foolish for trading LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for Kiki Alonso during the 2015 offseason.
Even Eagles Executive VP of Football Operations Howie Roseman knew how lopsided the deal was, so much so that according to a piece by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, he tried to reverse the deal and bring McCoy back to the City of Brotherly Love once Kelly was fired in Week 17 of the 2015 season.
In the story, Mehta explains that, according to sources, Roseman attempted to reacquire McCoy from Buffalo this past summer for a package of players that included wideout Jordan Matthews. Ultimately, the Eagles did end up sending Matthews to the Bills, but only received Ronald Darby in return.
“Kelly’s decision to trade McCoy to Buffalo for Alonso never made sense. Roseman tried to get McCoy back in a deal with Buffalo through back-channel intermediaries, according to sources. One of Philly’s off-the-books offers for McCoy, who has been a Pro Bowler in each of his three seasons with the Bills, was a package of players that included wide receiver Jordan Matthews, according to sources. Matthews ultimately was traded to the Bills for cornerback Ronald Darby last summer,” Mehta wrote.
“Roseman’s desire to bring back McCoy was one of the few moves that he couldn’t pull off, but he had seemingly solved his most glaring problem in the first phase of his accelerated rebuild: He found his franchise quarterback.”
Ultimately, Roseman’s failed attempt at bringing back LeSean McCoy wound up being irrelevant as the Eagles executive was able to trade up in the 2016 draft and select franchise QB Carson Wentz and revive the franchise that was left in shambles by Kelly. Even without Wentz, Philadelphia is playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl against New England, carried by a dominant defense that Roseman rebuilt, and quarterback Nick Foles.
Meanwhile, McCoy has thrived as the feature weapon of Buffalo’s offense in each of the last three seasons, each ending in Pro Bowl appearances as noted by Mehta. McCoy tallies 885 yards and three touchdowns in 2015, 1,267 yards and 13 TDs in 2016 – his best marks in Buffalo. The Bills led the league in rushing in each of those seasons. This past year he piled up 1,138 yards and six touchdowns but most importantly had a major hand in ending the franchise’s 17-year playoff drought.
Even though McCoy has embraced Western New York and Bills fans, he still holds an obvious grudge against his former coach Chip Kelly for shipping him away in that questionable trade. A few weeks ago he took his most recent of many well-documented shots at the now, UCLA head coach as a guest analyst on The NFL Network. For as much as he loves and admittedly misses Philly, it sounds like the feeling in reciprocated not only by Eagles fans but also Roseman.
We’ll never know what it would have taken for Roseman to pry McCoy away from Buffalo.