The Buffalo Bills added multiple running backs this offseason, so LeSean McCoy is in line to become the easy odd-man out.
The Buffalo Bills had the NFL’s ninth-best rushing attack last year (124 yards per game). But take away quarterback Josh Allen’s team-leading 52.6 rushing yards per game, and what’s left is a feeble ground game led by the worst season of LeSean McCoy’s career (161 carries for 514 yards; 3.2 yards per carry).
Seemingly in reaction to McCoy’s 2018 downturn, the Bills signed Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon and Senorise Perry this offseason while also drafting Devin Singletary in the third round of April’s draft.
Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane has remained committed to McCoy all offseason, declaring him the starting running back immediately after the draft as he heads into the final year of his contract. Beane is clearly offering a company line, and he continued to talk up McCoy on Friday as the Bills get set to report for training camp.
I’m not concerned. I think LeSean still can play. If not, we would have made the decision to move on,” Beane said, via WGR 550 Sports Radio’s Sal Capaccio. “I think he’s embraced the competition this spring. Guys handle competition in different ways. I don’t think he’s shied away from it. I don’t think that’s his nature.
The Bills have Marcus Murphy (52 carries for 250 yards last year) on the roster, and they also signed former rugby player Christian Wade. They probably aren’t keeping six running backs, with Gore, Yeldon and Singletary locks to make the final 53 barring injury. On that note, Albert Breer of The MMQB has reported some around the league believe the Bills will cut or trade McCoy before Week 1.
The Bills can still clear $6.425 million in cap space by releasing McCoy, albeit with $2.625 million in dead money on the back end (according to Over The Cap). If Singletary in particular shows well during training camp and preseason, a move may be made.
As opposed to just releasing McCoy if the situation warrants, the Bills could try to showcase him for a trade during the second or third preseason games. Injuries will surely have hit some backfields around the league by then, and Buffalo could sell a proven commodity.
Beane can throw all the verbal bouquets he wants, perhaps in an effort to keep McCoy from becoming a disgruntled distraction during camp. But it’s clear the Bills have other plans for their backfield, and a declining 31-year old such as McCoy stands to quickly become expendable.