What Kind Of Shelf Life Does LeSean McCoy Have?


If you’ve experienced any type of life within the past 36 hours then you’ve heard about the trade that sent former Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles for all-pro running back Lesean McCoy.  It seems as if the general consensus is split down the middle on both sides, and you can see the guys from 120sports.com weigh in below.

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I believe it’s a very even trade that benefits both teams in an area they needed to address.  But there’s a couple reasons why I think the unexpected trade of the offseason could be irrelevant within a span of the next three years.

Let’s start with Alonso.  He’ll be starting his third year as a pro when the season kicks off this fall.  After the incredible season he had as a rookie in 2013 that resulted in 159 total tackles, two sacks and four interceptions, Alonso first injured his hip during the offseason and followed it up soon after by tearing his ACL, his second major knee injury in four years (tore his ACL in 2010 while with Oregon).

Head coach Chip Kelly, who was given control of all personnel once the season concluded, is going out on a limb by acquiring his former college player.  With all the injury concerns, it’ll be boom-or-bust from here on out whether or not Alonso stays healthy long enough to make a difference for an NFL squad.

Turning the page on the other half of the deal, at 27 years of age McCoy will be entering his seventh season in the league when the 2015 season kicks off.  He’s been one of the best backs in the NFL since taking over full-time duties in 2010, good for over 1,000 yards in every season except for 2012 when the year was cut short due to an injury.

Crossing over the century mark is certainly no easy feat, just ask anyone and everyone that has carried a football against a professional defense.  Often it takes hundreds of carries to do so, and with 1,461 carries currently on the McCoys’ legs who knows how many more he’ll be able to handle.

Sep 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) is looked at by Washington Redskins trainer after being injured in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Often when judging a running backs career, one will look and see if he crossed the all-coveted 10,000 yard mark, something only 29 have done in NFL history.  For McCoy to cross the mark he must sustain his current career 4.6 yards per carry average by toting the ball 698 more times.  If he continues his career averages of 16 carries a game and 243.5 carries a season (314 in 2013, 312 in 2014), it’ll take him 44 more games to hit 10,000 yards.

Circling back to value of the trade, it looks as if Buffalo will get roughly three more years of solid production from McCoy, barring major injury of course.  Head coach Rex Ryan had a young centerpiece in Alonso to build his defense around for years to come but possibly took into account his injury history and decided to take a “win-now” approach into his first season within the Buffalo organization by obtaining McCoy.

The shelf life for McCoy will all depend on how he’s used within these next few years.  Ryan has a run-first mentality but one thing’s for certain: Continuing to put 300+ carries on an aging backs’ legs is risky.

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