Long-term deals aren’t particularly common for running backs. But when the running back signing the deal has only been able to legally drink for two years, well, it takes away at least some of the risk for the team doing the deal.
In Peter King’ latest Monday offering, King breaks down the process that brought McCoy and the Eagles together through the 2017 season. As such, King evaluates the deal as a slam-dunk for the Eagles.
“There was a moment in time when we were able to find the right balance in these negotiations,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman told me over the weekend. “To do a deal like this one, you’ve got to have the right player, the right person, the right talent, in the right offense, and you’ve got to be comfortable knowing the risks in signing a running back long-term.”
That risk, obviously, is McCoy’s age. A year from now, the Eagles wouldn’t have valued McCoy as highly because a five-year contract for a back at age 25 (which is how old he’d be on opening day 2013) is riskier than a five-year contract for a back at age 24. It’s mincing words, yes. But with backs, the longer you wait to pay them, the worse you sleep three and four years down the road.
“Obviously there’s an inherent risk in paying any player,” Roseman said. “But if you’re worried, and you’re constantly conservative, you won’t be able to build the kind of team that you hope can win a championship.”
This contract continues the Eagles’ run of multiyear deals for valuable players still young enough to give the team multiple seasons. The McCoy deal doesn’t strike me as dangerous, particularly considering how dangerous it would have been if McCoy amassed, say, 2,200 combined yards and 17 touchdowns in the 2012 season. If the Eagles had waited a year and he had that kind of season, there’s no way he’d be a $9-million-a-year player, which this contract defines him as. He’d be more costly. And with other backs (Ray Rice, Matt Forte) out there battling for new deals, there’s no telling where the market would be then.
I don’t know how good McCoy is going to be, but I don’t see how, unless there’s a disastrous injury, this deal isn’t a good one for the Eagles.