Why LeSean McCoy is a very good signing for the Chiefs

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 11: LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates his second quarter touchdown against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 11, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 11: LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates his second quarter touchdown against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 11, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Some opinions are mixed about the LeSean McCoy signing, but they shouldn’t be. It’s a solid addition for the Kansas City Chiefs.

By now, the news has made its way through Chiefs Kingdom of the team’s latest addition: veteran running back LeSean McCoy.

In the midst of roster cuts, general manager Brett Veach found the time to sort out a one-year deal worth $3 million guaranteed (up to $4 million total) with McCoy’s reps. The end result was a reunion with Andy Reid and another offensive weapon for Patrick Mahomes.

In the midst of the rumors that McCoy might sign, however, there was a decent amount of backlash. For some, McCoy is a not-so-exciting signing. He’s on the wrong side of his career. His presence disrupts the ability for other young players to play. He had a poor year statistically speaking last season. Perhaps the biggest complaint: he’s not a cornerback.

Most Chiefs fans would love to see any and all of Veach’s attention placed upon the secondary, a team in search of more help for pass defenders on a roster carrying Rashad Fenton as their fourth corner.

For those who are a bit frustrated at the signing, don’t fret. Veach is still not done tuning this roster, and McCoy is a good bet for this coming year for a number of reasons.

1. Experience

While the downside of McCoy’s age is that he’s left his best years behind him on the football field (a career that’s earned him six Pro Bowl nods), it’s also true that McCoy is the most experienced person in a very green running back room by far.

At this point, the primary two-pronged running attack for the Chiefs was bound to be Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson. The former was a scatback for four years for the Dolphins who handled the load down the stretch for the Chiefs. The latter is a sixth round rookie who was gearing up for JuCo ball two years ago.

These aren’t intended slights toward Williams or Thompson. It’s just acknowledging the fact no NFL team has ever put Williams front and center from the outset, and Thompson is still learning his teammates names. McCoy’s ability to come in and bring a decade of strong experience into the room is a nice element to the signing.

2. Motivation

What matters most is the actual production on the field here from McCoy. Fortunately for the Chiefs, McCoy is likely moving to town with a chip on his shoulder.

Do any of us really think it’s lost on McCoy that he averaged 3.2 yards/carry last season in Buffalo? He realizes that he’s coming in to Kansas City with something to prove. The Chiefs have a single focus—a Super Bowl—and McCoy wasn’t brought in to be a player/coach to help with intangibles. He was imported to be another weapon in an insanely loaded offense for Patrick Mahomes.

The good news is that McCoy was already thinking in those terms. Check the following quote from a few weeks ago as reporters in Buffalo were questioning his ability to produce in 2019:

"“I feel good,” he insisted. “I think I’m different, you know? I hang around a lot of running backs — retired dudes that I came in with, guys older than me. And they have all these injuries and they’re all [broken down]. I don’t play like that. My style is unique. I don’t have any issues on my body, injuries. I don’t take a lot of shots. I don’t take a lot of hits. So I think I’m unique.”"

If he’s back to form, that’s great news for the Chiefs. McCoy made five straight Pro Bowls before last season and averaged 1,603 yards from scrimmage per season in that stretch.

3. Familiarity

McCoy has a short runway before being forced to take off for the rest of the season, but fortunately he doesn’t need the sort of long on-ramp that most players would coming into the roster. McCoy played for Andy Reid for his first four seasons in the league. While some of the offense will have obviously changed, his playing experience and previous years under Reid should make for a smoother transition than other potential imports.

4. Trade-off

There was a bit of a pushback to McCoy’s signing from some who wanted to see the youngsters play ball. Bringing in one player inevitably pushes out another from the roster, and while the sun hasn’t set on the Week 1 roster, the reality is that this likely means Darrel Williams or Tremon Smith is good as gone.

To complain about either of those guys being ousted for McCoy is a bit silly, since any love for either is disproportional to what they’ve accomplished on the field. Smith is a man searching for a position to stay on the team and be somewhat useful outside of returner. Williams is a second-year undrafted free agent who has hung on impressively to his role for well over a year.

Neither player has put together any indication he could become a very useful part, however, in this offense. It was Damien who leaped up the depth chart when Kareem Hunt was released. It’s Darwin who is drawing preseason buzz despite Darrel being a year more experienced in the offense. There should be little love lost for any Chiefs fans in the end.

5. Cost

Here’s the bottom line: the Chiefs took themselves off the hook for Carlos Hyde and then extended a bit more to McCoy. They didn’t commit anything beyond this year, and their salary cap space still exceeds $16 million with a few remaining easy ways to create more millions if needed.

Looking at former Chiefs cut around the league. dark. Next

McCoy’s contract is a a short-term deal that costs the Chiefs very little to rid themselves if it becomes a problem. On the plus side, it’s also a cost-effective addition for a motivated veteran who just made the leap to a Super Bowl contender.