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Eagles, Bills to swap LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso

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The Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills agreed to a rare blockbuster challenge trade on Tuesday, sending shockwaves through the NFL.

The Eagles are flipping two-time All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso, NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reports, via a source involved in the deal. The swap will not become official until the new league year starts on March 10.

One Bills source told Silver the trade talks took all of 20 minutes from start to finish.

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the trade, which does not involve draft picks, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Eagles' willingness to part with McCoy is a stunner on the surface, but this is essentially a salary dump in which the return value is a young linebacker with Pro Bowl potential.

Chip Kelly was reluctant to devote $11.95 million in cap space to McCoy after watching the 26-year-old's production drop from 5.1 yards per carry and 10.4 yards per reception to 4.2 and 5.5, respectively.

After being phased out of the passing game in favor of Darren Sproles early in the season, McCoy forfeited short-yardage work to Chris Polk down the stretch. In other words, McCoy was too often on the sidelines in critical situations.

With McCoy's role diminished and his effectiveness waning, the Eagles reached the conclusion that it was better to pull the cord a year early than a year too late.

McCoy has also told friends that he didn't always see eye-to-eye with Kelly on practice methods and scheduling, Rapoport added.

Appearing on Tuesday's edition of NFL Total Access, NFL Media's LaDainian Tomlinson confirmed that McCoy's relationship with Kelly had become strained over the past year.

"I'm not really surprised about it," Tomlinson explained. "I had the chance to talk to LeSean McCoy a few weeks ago and he expressed to me that he didn't think he was going back to Philly next season. ... he just didn't think Philly was committed to him and he actually thought that Chip kind of phased him out of the offense at times last year."

In exchange for one of the NFL's best playmakers, Kelly is reunited with the former Oregon star Alonso, who is returning from ACL surgery on the heels of an outstanding rookie season.

As long as Alonso returns to pre-injury form, the Eagles will boast one of the NFL's speediest inside linebacker duos in Alonso and Mychal Kendricks.

If Rex Ryan plans to switch to a 3-4 defense, it's understandable that Alonso was viewed as a luxury with 2014 breakout starters Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham ticketed for inside linebacker.

The move also signals the end of free agent C.J. Spiller's Buffalo career, with McCoy and veteran Fred Jackson set to carry the mail in Greg Roman's power scheme. In fact, Rapoport confirms Spiller's imminent departure was a partial impetus for the trade.

It will be interesting to see if Kelly joins Chan Gailey and the Jets in making a run at Spiller next week.

After winning the power struggle for football operations in Philadelphia, Kelly is putting his stamp on the roster, unloading his rushing leader one year after jettisoning his top receiver.

If Kelly believes his system is more valuable than the marquee players he inherited, he now has eight former Ducks around which to build a contender.

Is Marcus Mariota the next Oregon-related blockbuster on Kelly's agenda?

The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to the LeSean McCoy-Kiko Alonso trade and what it means for the Eagles and Bills. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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