Even with teams announcing their franchise players on Monday, the NFL off-season officially kicked off on Tuesday with the announcement that the Philadelphia Eagles have traded two-time All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for up-and-coming linebacker Kiko Alonso. It’s a trade that represents an organizational shift for the Eagles with Chip Kelly now in full control, and a surprising sacrifice for the defensive minded new coach of the Bills, Rex Ryan. The trade will be completed when the league year begins; Tuesday, March 10th at 4PM eastern time. So who came out best in a move that will probably be the first of many for each team before the start of the 2015 season? Here are the SportsZone Trade Grades for each team:


After recent turmoil in the Eagles’ front office, head coach Chip Kelly has emerged as the leading voice running the organization, and after Shady’s lackluster 2014 (dropping to 1,474 yards from scrimmage after 2,146 yards from scrimmage in 2013), he took the opportunity to add his ninth former player at Oregon to the roster. In addition to this trade, Kelly cut veterans Trent Cole and Cary Williams, effectively purging some of the core from the pre-Kelly Eagles, yet adding a player who could anchor the defense for years to come in Alonso, who tore his ACL and missed the entire 2014 season after an explosive rookie year. While this trade causes much uncertainty in the Eagles’ offense, it is clear that Kelly favors an aerial attack which wouldn’t feature McCoy as much as he was used to, and whatever he chooses to do to add to that offense in the coming months he wanted to upgrade the defense first, giving it a pillar for the future while adding a familiar face to his attempt to reshape the roster.


While the Bills defense was arguably the team’s strength in 2014 without Alonso, this is a surprising move for new coach Rex Ryan, who usually favors hard-nosed defensive players like Alonso. However, with the uncertainty at the quarterback position, the pending departure of CJ Spiller, and Fred Jackson entering his age-34 season, Ryan went the route of bringing in a playmaker, and Shady can be a big upgrade depending on the line in front of him. He will only be 27 in September, and he’s only had two seasons of over 300 carries in his career so he should still have enough tread of the tire to be his usual versatility in the running and passing game, no matter who the quarterback is. Look for Buffalo to go defense in the draft to replace Alonso, but overall this is a solid risk to add a playmaker who could take pressure off of Sammy Watkins, even with a less-than optimal situation at quarterback

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