Buffalo Bills: A trade scenario for a new backfield

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills are getting older and less productive at the running back position. A recent theoretical three-team trade could be a move that alleviates both problems for the Bills.

This past week, David Carr of NFL Network laid out a potential three-team trade that would help the Buffalo Bills get younger, cheaper, and help with productivity.

Carr proposed a trade that would send current Bills running back LeSean McCoy back to the Philadelphia Eagles, quarterback Nick Foles from Philly to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and running back Leonard Fournette from the Jags to the Bills.

While I don’t believe that Fournette is the player he was thought to be when he was selected fourth overall by Jacksonville in the 2017 NFL Draft, I do believe he is one of the better running backs in the league. His best trait is his power, and ability to drag tacklers along. With the coaching staff’s desire to run the ball to help out quarterback Josh Allen as he progresses, adding a power runner like Fournette would be a potential score.

Trading away McCoy and acquiring Fournette would help the Bills save money and get younger. McCoy is owed $9.05 million next season – the third highest on the team behind Star Lotulelei and Jerry Hughes. Shipping out McCoy would carry a $2.625 million dead cap hit next season with Fournette carrying a $2,933,258 base salary in 2019 and a $4,167,388 base salary in 2020 with the fifth-year option coming in 2021.

Building an offense around Allen is the team’s top priority this offseason and adding a young piece like Fournette can help take the pressure of Josh in his second season. Helping establish a run game will be big for Allen, especially when that running back is cost controlled for the next three seasons.

Fournette is part of the highly hyped elite running back prospects of the last few seasons that includes Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley. While not in their class, Fournette compiled 1,040 yards rushing in just 13 games as a rookie, adding nine touchdowns. Last season, the former LSU Tiger played in just eight games and tallied 439 rushing yards for five touchdowns.

Known for his build and durability at LSU, Fournette has had an issue staying healthy. That may be in large part to his head coach Doug Marrone and his desire to run the ball on every play. If Fournette were to come to Buffalo, you could imagine that he would not be asked to carry the ball as much with Josh Allen being a better quarterback than Blake Bortles and Brian Daboll scheming an offense that would fit Fournette’s abilities.

If they were to trade for Fournette, the Bills should also strongly consider drafting a receiving back to complement Fournette in the backfield. Much like the New Orleans Saints have a power running in Mark Ingram and a quicker receiving back in Alvin Kamara. Drafting a talent such as a Kamara-type runner would be beneficial to add to an offense like the Bills are trying to build.

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Making a move for Fournette wouldn’t be a bad idea for a team that is trying to get younger and add more weapons for their franchise signal-caller. While the likelihood of the team going for it is up in the air, it would be a move that would help the team in the present and the future.