PHOENIX - Rex Ryan said the Bills were stunned when the Eagles called in early March and offered running back LeSean McCoy in a trade.
The new Buffalo coach said the deal that eventually sent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Eagles for McCoy took all of 30 minutes.
"We were just kind of like stunned there a little bit," Ryan said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "We were like, 'Really? Like, wow. Let's just take it from there.' Obviously we were interested. . . . We knew it wasn't going to be cheap by any stretch and losing a player like Kiko Alonso is obviously a steep price. But we felt really good about it."
Ryan said that the Bills offered three players but that the Eagles wanted Alonso. The 24-year-old linebacker is coming off knee surgery and missed all of last season, but Kelly obviously believed that he knew enough about his former Oregon player.
"I like the [reports that] I was ready to trade him," Ryan said sarcastically. "I recognize this guy's a heck of a football player and there's no question about it, and a young talented guy."
But Alonso remains a project after only one NFL season. McCoy, while three years older and much more expensive, has a more expansive resumé. He eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in four of his six seasons and ended his Eagles career as the franchise's all-time leading rusher (6,792 yards).
Still, his numbers dipped in 2014 - McCoy averaged 4.2 yards a carry a year after averaging 5.1 yards - and he was carrying a $12 million salary-cap number for 2015. But Kelly never approached the running back about restructuring his contract. And a week later, he gave free agent DeMarco Murray as much as McCoy had coming per year ($8.5 million).
"There's reasons why teams do a lot of different trades," Ryan said. "It made sense for us and for them."
McCoy initially was not thrilled about the idea of becoming a Buffalo Bill. He did not take calls from Ryan the day the trade was first reported. But he came to accept the deal, and a new restructured contract (five years, $40 million with $26.5 guaranteed) helped ease the transition, too.
"It's an opportunity for us and him as well," Ryan said of the contract. "It was good for both sides. It's not something that had to be done."
Ryan said he wasn't worried about McCoy's being motivated. He certainly won't have to worry about one week this season: The Eagles will host Buffalo on a date to be determined.
Pettine on Bradford
Browns coach Mike Pettine didn't deny that his team was involved in the sweepstakes for Sam Bradford or that the Browns offered a first-round draft pick for him a day after the Eagles traded for the former Rams quarterback.
"That's internal stuff," Pettine said. "We talk to a lot of teams about a lot of different deals. It's constant. Contrary to what people on the outside think that maybe we're wandering around aimlessly like baby dinosaurs, we're actually on the phones, researching guys, leaving no stone unturned."
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters he was "very impressed" with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota after spending 90 minutes with him in the classroom and also watching him on the field. The Titans hold the No. 2 overall draft pick.
"To me, he shows a lot of the qualities that you see those guys that have been successful in the league have," Whisenhunt said. "The team you can see gravitate to him and you can see they really like him. He's an accurate thrower, he doesn't turn the ball over much, he can extend the play. He can do a lot of things that guys at that position do who have been tremendously successful."
Whisenhunt said that if the Titans take a quarterback at No. 2, that player would be the team's starter from Day 1.