Buffalo Billsgeneral manager Brandon Beaneinsistedagainandagainthat the team would keepLeSean McCoyon the roster for the 2019 season. Their offseason transactions — signing veteransFrank GoreandT.J. Yeldonand draftingDevin Singletary— ultimately spoke louder beforeMcCoy’s releaseon Saturday as theBillstrimmed their roster ahead of the 4 p.m. ET deadline to reach the mandatory 53-player limit.
Singletary was drafted in the third round before opening eyes at training camp. He was selectedas the most impressive playerinBillscamp by several teammates. Gore, who looked sharp in the preseason, remains the Inconvenient Truth for virtually any competition he’s faced since Kevan Barlow with the49ersback when Gore was a rookie out of Miami in 2005. Anyone who has watched Gore’s snaps over the last few seasons knows he’s still playing excellent ball and he’ll provide the ultimate mentor for Singletary while sharing the workload with him. TheBillsdidn’t need the extra salary cap space, but paying McCoy $6.175 million in base salary didn’t make sense if he was out-played by Gore.
So where could McCoy from here? While he’s one of the most productive running backs of the last decade, his days as a frontline, highly paid starter appear to be over. Here are some potential fits where he could help out as a role player:
Kansas City Chiefs:Head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach appeared to have swung and missed withCarlos Hyde, who was signed this offseason as a boom-or-bust veteran back in the mode of McCoy. That leaves theChiefswith untested youngstersDarwin ThompsonandDarrel Williamsbehind starterDamien Williams. I’d argue that Thompson andDarrel Williamshave earned a look in regular season games, butReid’s history with McCoycomes into play here. Reid drafted McCoy in Philadelphia, and together they proved a lot of people wrong, as there were plenty of folks who said Shady was only a third-down back. TheChiefswould have to be McCoy’s first choice because of Reid’s presence and the chance to compete for a title.
Philadelphia Eagles:On paper, theEaglesdon’t need McCoy. But his previous relationship with general manager Howie Roseman makes theEaglesan option if the team wants to truly go back to the future withDarren Sprolesand McCoy as reserves in the same backfield.
Green Bay Packers:Matt LaFleur’s offense is a bit of a mystery, but it’s possible he doesn’t love his depth behindAaron Jones. McCoy’s ability on passing downs could be especially attractive as a safety net, especially if the team has concerns about Jones’ durability (missed four games in each of his first two seasons).
Los Angeles Chargers:Chargershead coach Anthony Lynn has expressed confidence in rolling with the duo ofAustin EkelerandJustin Jackson, two players on their rookie contracts who have already shown they can play at the NFL level. McCoy would only be an emergency option ifMelvin Gordon‘s holdout truly appears indefinite. Remember, Lynn does have a history with McCoy, as he coached theBills‘ running backs during Shady’s first two seasons in Buffalo.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter@greggrosenthal.