The Eagles just announced that Riley Cooper has been excused from team activities for an indefinite period. He’s going to get some counseling. I also think the time off is important as the organization tries to figure this situation out. Teammates are still in a state of shock over this whole thing. Emotions are going to run red hot initially. With time, that may change. Or not. If the emotions don’t go away, Riley Cooper will.
Jeremy Maclin is out with a torn ACL. Arrelious Benn is dealing with a minor knee injury. BJ Cunningham has been cut. Cooper is off doing his thing. Suddenly, WR is a thin position.
The Eagles do have an open roster spot. You can bet they are looking around. Here are some of the top guys available:
Go here for Adam Caplan’s full list. I don’t think the Eagles will have interest in the washed-up big name guys, but these players have had some NFL success and should be able to step in right away and help in practice, if not compete for a roster spot.
The Eagles could also consider a trade with another team, but I think that would happen in a couple of weeks, not now.
DeSean Jackson, Damaris Johnson, Jason Avant, Russell Shepard and Greg Salas are all having terrific camps. That could be the 5 guys the Eagles go into the season with. That would be a strange group, to say the least. It would certainly be a lot smaller than what Kelly wanted.
Arrelious Benn’s injury is the biggest issue right now. If he was healthy, he’d likely be starting and would make me feel a lot better about the WR situation. I don’t know how far away he is from getting back on the field.
Ifenyi Momah is another X-factor here. He was solid in the spring, but has been so-so at camp so far. I don’t think you can count on him making the team, let alone contributing. The preseason games will help us figure him out.
Back to Cooper for a second. Many people think this is a sign he’ll get cut. I think this is a sign that the Eagles are trying to find a way to make this situation work. He still might end up getting cut, but the goal is to see if there is a way to have him on the team and to keep the locker room functional.
One element to this we haven’t talked much about is how the controversy could affect Cooper’s play. If he’s not sleeping well or eating enough, as he indicated on Thursday, that will affect him on the field. The Eagles have no interest in keeping Cooper if he’s not playing well and he’s a highly controversial player. Cooper must shine on the field for this to have any chance of working.
The Eagles have invested 3 1/2 years in developing Cooper and don’t want to just toss that aside if they can help it. That said, the only way this works is if the teammates want it to work. Right now that is very much up in the air. This is a very fluid situation. There is no playbook for how to handle something like this, from the perspective of Cooper, his teammates or the organization.
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Practice is underway. Jason Avant reportedly just dove to make a catch and got up slowly. Maybe so many WRs will get hurt that Cooper’s teammates will have no choice but to welcome him back. Ugh. WR was so deep just 10 days ago.