Riley Cooper Is As Good As Gone Mr. Parks

Jan 3, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper (14) reaches for the ball as New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) defends during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Jan 3, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper (14) reaches for the ball as New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) defends during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Jim O /

For the Philadelphia Eagles, the slow news cycle has officially begun. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, there will constantly be Eagles related articles coming out for the duration of the offseason. One of which was a piece by Eliot Shorr-Parks regarding the possible future of Riley Cooper with the Philadelphia Eagles. Let me preface the rest of this article by saying that I respect Eliot Shorr-Parks and the work he does covering the Eagles.

Now that I’ve said that, I completely and utterly disagree with his article. First and foremost, the contradictions within lead me to believe that this was nothing more than click bait. Everyone is guilty of this at some point. It can be on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. And while I don’t believe these to be intentional, I do think they serve to devalue the argument of the team retaining his services next season.

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There is arguably no Eagles player or coach that is as divisive of a topic is a Riley Cooper. Few fans like him as a person or a player, even fewer love him as either, and the vast majority simply want him off the team. I understand the desire to write about him however (in the event that you thought this article was going to be about something else). Unfortunately, it seems that the only writing or discussion that involves Cooper focuses solely on the actions that took place in 2013.

Let’s take a good look at the final sentence of that previous paragraph. The only thing that we discuss is an offseason incident at a Kenny Chesney concert. The subsequent season, Cooper caught 47 passes for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. Pro Football Focus graded Cooper as the fourth best run blocking wide receiver in the NFL in 2013 season. Only 12 receivers in the NFL caught more touchdown passes than Riley Cooper in that season. In the 2014 season, Cooper was third most targeted player on the Eagles. And it all comes back to that incident.

There are a total of 32 wide receivers in the NFL that will have a higher salary cap hit than Riley Cooper in the 2016 season. He will make almost as much money as every other wide receiver on the Eagles roster next season. That’s a lot of coin to be issuing a guy that just came off of the season where he caught a measly 21 catches for 327 yards.

Oh, and then there’s also the whole matter of THAT incident. We as human beings have to strive to be better. Charles Barkley infamously said,” I am not a role model.” I think it’s safe to say that Riley Cooper is not a role model either. There is no context whatsoever that justifies Cooper’s actions. The fact that were still having the discussion surrounding his presence on the roster is not only baffling, but appalling.

All of that is in the past. In the present, Jeffrey Lurie wants his coach to display “emotional intelligence”. It’s my opinion that Lurie should also want his players to display the same emotional intelligence. This is not about punishing Cooper for past mistakes. This is about righting a wrong. This is just as much of a football decision as it is a human decision. Twenty-one catches last season folks. Five million dollars the next season.

I’m not going to stand inside of a glass house and cast stones. Everyone, myself included, makes mistakes. As a 26-year-old male (the age of Cooper in 2013), I had my fair share of regrettable actions, particularly when alcohol was involved. What Cooper did was reprehensible as well as ignorant. We see NFL players constantly reprimanded based on the talent they bring to the field. It’s the reason why Greg Hardy was able to play last season and Ray Rice is still sitting at home. It’s why Adrian Peterson was given a second chance with the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately Cooper is none of those players, nor has he ever been.

As for the relationship between Howie Roseman and Riley Cooper, I think it’s safe to say that Roseman’s role overseeing the personnel decisions is going to be minimal at best. Lurie preached accountability at Pederson’s introductory press conference. It’s time for the Eagles owner to put his money where his mouth is. The Philadelphia Eagles need less attention from the mainstream media and fewer distractions inside the locker room.

While Shorr-Parks referenced Andy Reid’s regime as the ones that drafted Cooper, I think there’s a fallacy in assuming that Doug Pederson would retain Cooper’s services based solely on that aspect. Pederson was the Philadelphia Eagles a member of the offensive quality control in 2010 and the quarterbacks coach in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Neither of those positions entails working with Cooper. In my personal opinion, the “strong tie with the new head coach” that Shorr-Parks alludes to is about as strong of a tie as a four-in-hand knot for a tie on a spread collar. So I apologize Mr. Parks, but I wholeheartedly disagree with the Eagles retaining his services, and I hope that Jeffrey Lurie shares my sentiments.

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