Philadelphia Eagles Mid Season Grades: Resigning Deals

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Nov 2, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver

Riley Cooper

(14) catches a pass over Houston Texans cornerback

A.J. Bouye

(34) during the first half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Mid Season Grades: Resigning Deals

We’ve been spending a lot of time and attention this year to the individuals that make up the Philadelphia Eagles.  Lost in the debates is the simple fact that these Philadelphia Eagles are greater as a whole than the sum of their parts.  What do I mean?   It’s almost a weekly event to read someone with very negative things to say about safety Nate Allen, and cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, but they were a large part of the defense that shut down quarterback Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts to 172 yards passing.   He has NOT been held to under 300 yards since.

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So keep in mind that part of this analysis ignores the “team factor”.   A guy who is typically graded for catches may be huge in the blocking game, but that does not show up in the box score.  Similarly, a cornerback who allows receivers to catch the ball, but who tackles them immediately and sure handedly will contribute to the team success, but who does not show up as a productive contributor.

Let’s look at the Eagles players who did get new contracts with the Eagles in the off season:
This Story:
Wide Receiver Riley Cooper
Offensive Tackle Jason Peters
Center Jason Kelce
Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin
Monday’s Story:
Defensive End Cedric Thornton
Punter Donnie Jones
Safety Nate Allen
Offensive tackle Allen Barbre

Did The Philadelphia Eagles End Up With A Mini Cooper?

A year ago, a beleaguered young wide receiver had to earn his way and his trust from the fans and his teammates after making a huge thoughtless error in the off-season. But 2013 found wide receiver Riley Cooper doing just that. It didn’t start out that way however. By week eight, Cooper had just 20 receptions and two touchdowns on 36 targets for 316 yards. By the same period this year 2014, Riley Cooper has amassed 31 receptions and one touchdown on 53 targets for just 331 yards. When the Eagles invested in Cooper during the off-season, I am not certain that was the production they were committing to.

It was an odd off season, with so many holes despite the 10-6 start and only so many quality players available.   Clearly, the second half of 2013 placed Cooper into a good spot with the team, a spot that earned him a new contract.   But was it worth it?   In comparison to the end of 2013, no.   The rhetoric that accompanied that signing was positive and glowing:

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  • "“Riley is one of the toughest and hardest-working guys in our locker room. We talk a lot about how players have to make the most of their opportunities, and he did just that last year. He used his size, strength and speed to make a lot of big plays for our team and I’m excited to watch him build upon his success.” – Chip Kelly"

    Building on that success is not exactly coming through.   In fact, if you erase the surge in Cooper’s numbers in the second half of 2013, you find that his production as a pass receiver has been consistent.    That’s fine, if he remained the slot wide receiver.   However, he was brought back with a five year $25 Million dollar contract that is worth $5 million this year and guarantees $4 million in 2015 and $1 million in 2016.   So far this year, that projects out to about $81,000 per catch or $2.5 Million per touchdown.

    Philadelphia Eagles Mid Season Grade:  On a team where scheme and talent seem to go hand in hand, this appears to be a bad deal for the Eagles.