LeSean McCoy is receiving the strongest interest from the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots following his surprise release from the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.
"For L.A., it's an option they are forced to look at with Melvin Gordon's status uncertain," Rapoport added, and he had reported earlier in the day that the Chargers running back has been given permission to seek a trade amid his ongoing contract holdout.
"General manager Brandon Beane has been outspoken every opportunity he's got about telling everyone that LeSean McCoy was gonna be on the team, was in their plans, basically preempted every question by saying so. Then they get to training camp, obviously, what they saw, the body of work that he put forward in training camp was not something they believe would help their team.
"So, he made the decision to release LeSean McCoy—their former franchise running back, one of the faces of their franchise. Now, of course, he was expensive—due about $6 million for a 31-year-old running back who averaged just over three yards per carry last year. That is a lot."
McCoy's release came after he rushed for a career-low 514 yards and three touchdowns in Buffalo last season. The 31-year-old had been with the Bills since 2015. His best year in that span came in 2016 with 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns on 234 carries.
Gordon's holdout status is a factor in L.A.'s reported pursuit of McCoy, but WIVB's Josh Reed pointed out that the potential landing spot "makes a ton of sense" because Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn was the Bills offensive coordinator during McCoy's breakout 2016.
The Chargers aside, the most intriguing options for McCoy given his history are Philadelphia and Kansas City. The Eagles drafted him in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft and are the only other franchise he has played for in his career. In Philadelphia, he was named an All-Pro twice and led the league with a career-high 1,607 yards in 2013.
That said, McCoy played under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid in Philly from 2009 to 2012. His connection with Reid may hold weight. "We all love Coach Reid to death," McCoy told NFL Network in 2013, following the coach's move to the Chiefs. "He means a lot to me and a lot of other players."
From a football perspective, the Chargers might present McCoy the best opportunity to be a primary back should Gordon depart.
The Chiefs signed Damien Williams to a two-year contract extension in December and are high on rookie sixth-round draft pick Darwin Thompson. The Eagles already traded for Jordan Howard and drafted Miles Sanders, who is the first running back to be taken in the second round by the franchise since McCoy.
As for the Patriots, Sony Michel is coming off a stellar rookie campaign that saw him register 931 yards and six touchdowns on 209 carries. He's paired with James White, who has mostly been utilized as a receiver, and rookie third-round pick Damien Harris.
McCoy is older than all of those players, which is worth noting given the brief shelf life of running backs, but he could bring a viable veteran presence to any of those four backfields.