The Buffalo Bills released their star running back LeSean McCoy after four semi-productive years. McCoy joined the Bills in the 2015 offseason. He didn’t stay unemployed for long – the Chiefs signed him to a one-year contract just a couple of hours later.
After back-to-back thousand-yard seasons, McCoy suffered the worst year of his career in 2018, recording just 514 yards in 14 games. Over the course of his last two seasons with the Bills, McCoy had experienced all kinds of problems – injury bugs in the first place, including three separate concussions in 2018 alone.
It was truly a surprising cut to say the least as nothing had indicated that, despite him being on the downside of his career, McCoy wouldn’t be the first-choice running back come the Week 1 visit to MetLife Stadium. But ever since his best year in Buffalo in 2017, his production has slipped more than expected and, to some extent, that move was something that could have been expected at some point in the future, perhaps not in such fashion.
In the second year of his five-year deal in 2016, McCoy had 13 touchdowns, only worse than 2011, and came close to his career-highs in yards on the ground. His number went down in 2017 despite playing one game more and getting more carries a game. In spite of recording his sixth 1,000-yard year, he had just 6 TDs. It’s pretty evident the problems started before last season – 2018 just was the last chapter.
Now Devin Singletary becomes the leader of the running back group for Buffalo after a highly impressive preseason showing. A potential Rookie of the Year candidate, Singletary and his second option T.J. Yeldon look like a good compensation to an unimpressive wide receiving core for QB Josh Allen. Yeldon’s numbers from three years as a Jaguar aren’t great but McCoy’s release can be viewed more as intended to give Singletary more snaps.
McCoy de facto replaces the traded Carlos Hyde and will play the same role as Kansas City’s RB2, behind Damien Williams. The Chiefs have the tough task in reproducing the lost production of Kareem Hunt, but with Williams’ ceiling and McCoy’s past glory, the Chiefs may have successfully addressed one of their big needs.
The bad news for the Bills second-year head coach Sean McDermott, not necessarily though, are that there will be a lot of pressure for Singletary going into the season.
Nothing has changed much – a defence in the bottom 16, Robert Foster is Josh Allen’s best receiver and a subpar offensive front line, and the season might be hanging in the balance of Devin Singletary putting up Rookie of the Year-type numbers. In the event of every unit having an expected improvement, and Singletary and his supporting cast statistically making up for McCoy’s messy performance from 2018 – who knows, the Bills might be a playoff team for the second time in three years. The Bills have won less than 6 games only twice since 1987, the last time in 2011, and a good year by Singletary could make for a year-to-year improvement.