Quick Hits: Assessing Cobb, McCoy-Alonso, Marshall Deals

Randall Cobb signs 4-year, $40 million deal to stay with the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers will be retaining the services of Cobb after agreeing to a 4-year deal with the 24-year-old receiver. The top slot receiver in the league reportedly turned down six to seven other offers presenting more money to return to Green Bay as quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ most reliable target.

Cobb comes as the first big name to be snagged off the free agent board that teams with an uber amount of cap space like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders had been said to have significant interest in. The Raiders had even been reported to have been willing to offer up $11 million a year to the Packers player.

He will still be in line to land a bigger deal when his newly signed contract expires — he’ll be 28 when it does — so the pay cut isn’t too big of a blow for him at the moment.

His signing also makes the market for receivers Jeremy Maclin and Torrey Smith even more lucrative, as they will be touted as the top free agents at their position with the signing period just getting underway.

 

Philadelphia Eagles trade RB LeSean McCoy to Buffalo Bills for LB Kiko Alonso.

The Eagles and Bills made a blockbuster trade earlier in the week, which featured moving running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo and linebacker Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia.

We’ve had half a week to digest this now, and even initially I was significantly more shocked at the names involved in the deal and the fact it happened than I was in trying to analyze who had won the trade. I thought it was a pretty favorable deal for both parties.

For Philadelphia, it may seem a little weird. For the second consecutive year Chip Kelly has deemed a big name offensive player as expendable (DeSean Jackson last year). The return and the value of this deal was rather good, frankly.

The Eagles will accumulate nearly $50 million in cap space after trading McCoy, who had base salaries of $6.9 million and $7.6 million due this upcoming season and the following after signing an extension in 2012 with Philadelphia.

Not to mention, the acquirement of Alonso, who played with Kelly at Oregon (even though Kelly is said to have had no influence defensively during his time with the Ducks). Alonso finished third in the NFL in tackles (totaling 159) during his rookie campaign and is touted as being an elite cover linebacker, despite having missed all of last year with an injury. He will now be paired with linebacker Mychal Kendricks, giving the Eagles one of the better linebacking cores in the league.

Kelly is manipulating the roster in the fashion he’s deeming fit. He now has the cap space to do what he’d like to in free agency, but it does come at a shock to see McCoy moved when he very well could have been used as a piece in a potential trade to move up in the draft to select quarterback Marcus Mariota.

For the Bills, this move is made as a schematically-driven one. While Alonso was great in coverage, he isn’t very good against the run, grading out at -1.9 in run coverage, according to Pro Football Focus.

With Rex Ryan bringing his influence to the roster, a more versatile or at least balanced linebacker was needed as the interior linebacker and Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown each showed they were capable of playing well last season in such a role.

Offensively, the team adds a weapon to enable them to run the ball effectively, although it’s interesting that they’re adding a tailback that’s a notoriously shifty east-west runner, not a pound-and-ground type back.

Still, this provides Buffalo’s stagnant offense a very reliable option that possesses big play ability and versatility. McCoy is still only 26 years old, and in the midst of his prime. He’ll be the feature back in a very good backfield stable that includes the likes of Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon and Fred Jackson.

It gives the Bills dynamic options on offense to hopefully match the production of their defense, but that’s only a speculative view from the current roster on paper.

 

Chicago Bears trade WR Brandon Marshall to New York Jets for a fifth-round draft pick.

The Bears moved the 10-year veteran just a year after signing him to an extension.

New York will be adding a viable No. 1 option for quarterback Geno Smith and pair him alongside wide receiver Eric Decker, who can revert back to his more familiar secondary option role.

The addition should specifically provide both of those two the opportunity to grow. Decker will see less focus and Smith, who is more than likely on his last chance to prove himself as a franchise quarterback, will be equipped with the arguably his best supporting cast should have more success in the intermediate passing game.

The trade also gives the Jets the flexibility to address other positions in both free agency and the draft at minimal cost. It also doesn’t force the team into re-signing Percy Harvin.

For Chicago it creates more cap space and alleviates the locker room of a toxic player to the locker room. Although, the move does come off as being odd to me.

Chicago has brought in two of quarterback Jay Cutler’s former coaches to most likely provide him with some familiarity. Marshall has been Cutler’s go-to receiver for a majority of his career, so it comes as a surprise to move Marshall in the midst of getting Cutler back on the right track.

That being especially true when considering the depth of the squad at receiver, which without Marshall is barren down to Alshon Jefferey and Marquess Wilson as the starters entering the offseason, and personally the return gained seemed more desperate than it was calculated.

Kaelen Jones

Kaelen Jones

Kaelen Jones is a young, budding sports journalist from Chino Hills, California, who currently studies journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He has been writing since he was 14 years old and has a passion for just about any and every major sport. His previous experience includes co-founding BottomLine Sports Report.com in 2011 (discontinued), hosting and producing The Jones & Avery Show (2013), and is now currently a co-host member of The Blaze, 1330 AM’s “Traffic Jam” every Wednesday night. Although he hails from Southern California, he proudly supports the Oakland Raiders and Miami Heat, as well as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He is very opinionated, however shows a regular willingness to listen to the opinions of others which to this point has helped guide him in his progression as a journalist.

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