This deal is part of the reason why the Eagles moved on from DeSean Jackson. They think they can replace DeSean Jackson with a healthy Jeremy Maclin and a rookie along with a bigger role for Riley Cooper. Cooper is getting 22.5 million over 5 years, though with only 9 million over 2 years guaranteed. I have a hard time seeing him getting that on the open market. A year ago, Cooper was the Eagles 4th receiver and had 46 catches for 679 catches and 5 touchdowns in his career in 3 years since being drafted in the 5th round by the Eagles in 2010.
He struggled to start the 2013 season as well, catching 8 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown in his first 5 games in a starting role, before breaking out down the stretch. Once Nick Foles came under center, it was a big boost to Cooper’s stats as the Eagles’ passing offense broke out and Foles liked to throw to Cooper more often than Michael Vick did. Cooper caught 45 passes for 810 yards and 8 touchdowns in his final 12 games including playoffs. The Eagles are paying a lot of money for a system player who, as of early October, was a non-factor as a receiver in the league.
I like the Eagles’ general direction at wide receiver this off-season, re-signing Jeremy Maclin, cutting DeSean Jackson and his large salary, and replacing him with a combination of a hopefully healthy Maclin and a rookie, but this is too much money for Cooper. This is the definition of buying high. The other angle here is that Cooper may have struggled to get as much money as he otherwise would have on the open market because of the comments he made last off-season and the potential locker room issues that signing him could cause. The Eagles’ locker room generally seemed to forgive and accept him, but it’s not clear if the rest of the league would feel the same way.