It was clear after last season that LeSean McCoy was not the same player Bills fans had grown accustom to seeing over the prior three seasons. McCoy had the worst season of his career, only averaging 3.2 yards per attempt. Of course, a lack of any consistent passing game and poor offensive line play are partly to blame for McCoy’s struggles in 2018. However, there is no question that Shady didn’t look like the dynamic runner he once was.
Throughout the offseason, many people have been calling for the Bills to either cut or trade the former pro bowl running back. Yet, the Bills seem (at the moment) to have LeSean McCoy in their plans for the 2019 season. The question remains: what is the best thing for the Bills to do with Shady?
The argument for trading McCoy has a few variables to keep in mind. The biggest variable being that the Bills would need a partner team to trade with. That begs the question; who would be interested in a 31-year-old running back? The Eagles were a team that was linked to being interested in trading for McCoy around the deadline last season. However, after trading for Jordan Howard and drafting Miles Sanders, it seems very unlikely that Eagles would be in the market for a running back at this time.
The Bills would also have to receive proper compensation in return for McCoy. From early reports it seems that the Bills value Shady McCoy relatively highly. If the Bills were to trade the running back, it would likely have to be during the season. Currently there aren’t any teams in the market for a running back. However, injuries are a guarantee in the NFL and teams that think they can win might be the right partner for the Bills.
The majority of NFL writers and Bills fans are begging for the Bills to cut ties with LeSean McCoy. The biggest reason being that if the Bills cut McCoy they would save $6.45 million against the cap. Others argue that keeping McCoy would also simply be a waste of roster spot, especially after the Bills signed established veterans Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon, and drafted Devin Singletary in the third round. It’s questionable whether the Bills even need McCoy and that he could take carries away from younger options that could be a part of the Bills future plans.
There is an argument for keeping McCoy for the 2019 season too. McCoy was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with Buffalo. Also, due to McCoy’s running style (avoiding hits) he may still have some gas left in the tank. McCoy offers veteran leadership as well and was elected as a team captain last season. Behind an improved offensive line and passing game, it could be a big bounce back year for McCoy.
What should the Bills do with Shady? Personally, I believe the best move for the Bills would be to wait things out. They have to see if McCoy is still the player they believe he is. Fortunately, they have all of training camp to figure this out. If they decide that he is not the same player he used to be, then Brandon Beane should make a trade to dump the veteran running back. It will be interesting to see what happens with Shady McCoy throughout the rest of the offseason.
Mitch Broder in a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @mitchell_broder