The Philadelphia Eagles are heading into the 2014 off-season in good shape. Most of their key players are under contract and don’t have many free agents compared to other teams in the NFL. But there’s one position where things do get murky, such as the wide receiver position. Philadelphia Eagles receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper are both set to become unrestricted free agents this year. Both of them have produced good results for the Eagles. It’s been a great debate on whether the team keeps both, one or the other, or even none. But nonetheless the Philadelphia Eagles have to make a decision and Riley Cooper should be the odd man out. His time in Philly should be up.
At last years training camp, players and coaches were raving about Jeremy Maclin. He was showing that maybe he can be a legitimate number one receiver in the NFL. Maclin, a former first round pick, was a bit of a disappointment thus far. His numbers were good but it seemed like he couldn’t break out. He averaged 64 catches, 860 yards receiving, and 7 touchdowns a season. Modest stats, but Maclin finally seemed he was turning the corner. But early in training camp Maclin tore his ACL and missed the remainder of the 2013-2014 season. Someone needed to step up and it was Riley Cooper. His finishing stat line was identical to Maclin’s averages. He ended up with 47 catches, 835 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns. But are those numbers misleading?
Most of Riley Cooper’s production came from three games, against bad teams in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders and a really bad defense in the Green Bay Packers. Riley Cooper is a nice deep threat. His size helps him go over the top of defenders, but he consistently struggled to get open on press man coverage. Many of the Eagles sacks were because no one was open. He would disappear for most of the game and was really a non factor in the passing game when he wasn’t open deep. If the Eagles had someone who could’ve consistently moved the chains, the Eagles offense would’ve been even more dangerous. Cooper is likely to demand 4-5 million dollars a year. Is it worth it to pay a guy who really is a one trick pony? Cooper’s production was mostly because of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles’ spectacular play and the offensive scheme. Cooper is a good player, but the Eagles may want to go in a different direction. Especially, when the answer to this problem can be found with their former first round pick, Jeremy Maclin. And may even look into a rich with talent receiver class in the upcoming NFL draft.
At this point Cooper is expendable. Maclin will likely be re-signed, and with the draft coming up his days as an Eagle should be over. He had a great year and was an important piece in the Philadelphia Eagles success this past year. But football is a business as well and when a team has upgrades at their disposal some players have to go. Riley Cooper wont have a hard time finding a new home. But it won’t be in Philadelphia.