ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) The longer LeSean McCoy thought about the trade that sent him to Buffalo, the more excited he became about joining a Rex Ryan-coached team with a run-oriented approach.
”It feels good to be appreciated,” McCoy said during an introductory news conference at the Bills facility on Tuesday.
”Once I kind of sat down and relaxed, actually thought to myself and talked to my family, I thought it was the best move. I found a team that actually wanted me.”
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McCoy spoke shortly after the trade between the Bills and Philadelphia Eagles became official once the NFL’s 2015 season started. The deal, in which the Bills sent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Eagles, was first agreed to last week.
On Sunday, the Bills smoothed McCoy’s transition by restructuring his contract. It’s a five-year, $40 million deal with $26.5 million guaranteed, including $16 million this season.
If that wasn’t enough, McCoy had even more reason to like his new surroundings. As he stood at the podium, the Bills were busy delivering him a lead blocker by agreeing to sign fullback Jerome Felton an hour into free agency.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press of Felton’s agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract terms have not yet been completed. The Bills would only say Felton was in Buffalo meeting with team officials.
Felton is a seventh-year player and 2012 Pro Bowl selection who spent the past three seasons with Minnesota.
”I would love that,” McCoy said, about the possibility of playing alongside Felton. ”The good thing about Rex is no matter what team, he always finds a way to get that running attack going.”
The Bills might not be done upgrading a sputtering offense that finished 26th in the NFL, and produced 1,482 yards rushing – the team’s lowest total in a 16-game season.
A second person familiar with the discussions told the AP the Bills had a contract prepared to offer Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not revealed its intentions.
Clay is a free agent, though the Dolphins have the right to match any offers after awarding the player a transition tag last week. The move ensured that Clay will make at least $7 million this season.
A four-year starter in Miami, Clay has the prototypical size and catching ability of a tight end that would fit the run- and short-pass oriented offense the Bills are introducing under Ryan and incoming coordinator Greg Roman.
The Bills also officially announced they’ve acquired quarterback Matt Cassel in a trade with Minnesota that was agreed to last week. Buffalo also acquired an undisclosed draft pick in exchange for two undisclosed picks.
McCoy by far is considered Buffalo’s marquee offseason addition. In six seasons in Philadelphia, the 26-year-old was a 2011 and 2013 All-Pro and a three-time Pro Bowl selection, establishing himself as one of the NFL’s most versatile threats.
He’s an elusive runner who led the league with an Eagles’ franchise-record 1,607 yards in 2013. And he can also be used in the passing game as a receiver.
McCoy will be part of a veteran-laden backfield in Buffalo, which also features Fred Jackson, former Eagles teammate Bryce Brown, and Anthony Dixon.
”They wanted me, and they got me, so I’m sure in the back of their mind they have a great role and scheme ready for me,” McCoy said. ”My play speaks for itself. I can do it all, from blocking, running, catching. And they know that. So I’m sure they have some plan for me. Whatever it is, I’ll do.”
McCoy is particularly excited to work with Roman, who spent the previous four seasons as 49ers offensive coordinator. One of the first calls McCoy made after the trade was to running back Fred Gore, who previously played under Roman.
”He gave me like 10, 12 things, all positive,” McCoy said of Gore’s scouting report. ”He made me feel so comfortable with (Roman) and I got so happy.”
McCoy will miss Philadelphia, and had respect for Eagles coach Chip Kelly for his innovative approach to offense. He’s gotten a good first impression of Buffalo after spending the past two days touring the city with his family.
Now, he’s eager to prove himself.
”I think every time you get to a new place, new faces, new eyes, you always want to have that effect, like, `Wow, OK, he is as good as advertised,”’ McCoy said. ”You always want to prove yourself, and that’s the way I like to approach different things.”
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