To Coop Or Not To Coop

Posted: January 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 95 Comments »

The previous post created a discussion on Riley Cooper that spilled over to Twitter. Here are some of the key tweets to provide background.

Okay, take all of that in.

Riley Cooper is a free agent. The Eagles want him back. The question is how much you pay him. The Eagles may have a very different number in mind from what Riley and his agent think he’s worth.

Let’s deal with facts to start with.

Riley’s stats

Year Games Starts Rec. Yards TDs YPC Rec of 20+ Yds
2010 13 2 7 116 1 16.6 3
2011 16 3 16 315 1 19.7 5
2012 11 5 23 248 3 10.8 3
2013 16 15 47 835 8 17.8 13

We know Riley is a good blocker. We know he can make tough catches, downfield or in traffic. He doesn’t have great hands, as evidenced by Saturday’s drop, but he will make some tough plays.

Riley showed a great deal of progress as a route runner this year. He still lacks the quickness and great cutting ability to break away from tight man coverage on a consistent basis.

Speed is a tough thing to quantify. Riley has good straight-line speed, but isn’t a burner. He does run well for such a big guy.

One of the areas where Riley is special is in his ability to track deep balls. Chip Kelly has talked about how his baseball background comes in to play here. Riley, like an outfielder going after a deep fly ball, is able to see the ball while on the move. He’s able to adjust to it while on the move. Some receivers have to start and stop as they move around. Riley slows down, but stays on the move.

Riley is a good “big WR”. He plays big. Hank Baskett acted like he was Marvin Harrison and that drove me nuts. If you’re big, play big. Riley can take contact from a DB and still make the catch. He can take contact and not lose sight of the ball. He will run through some arm tackles. Riley will try to be elusive with the ball at times, but isn’t afraid to try to run over a defender.

Not only is he good as a downfield receiver, Riley became a Red Zone weapon. He was 8-68-5 this year. Jeremy Maclin topped that in 2010, going 11-104-7, but those are really impressive numbers from Riley when you consider how little he got the ball for the first half of the year. Riley became the primary Red Zone weapon. He wasn’t getting the ball on trick plays. They ran him on crossing route after crossing routes, using Riley’s speed, size and ability to catch the ball in traffic.

Now let’s get subjective.

Could Riley put up such good numbers in another system and/or with another QB? This a huge mistake that teams make in free agency. They overpay for a player and then don’t use the guy the right way. What in the name of Nnamdi Asomugha am I talking about? Sorry, can’t think of a good example.

We know Riley works well in this offense. We know Chip Kelly loves him. We know Nick Foles trusts him.

When playing with Michael Vick for the first 4 weeks, Riley had 8 total catches. His long pass was 16 yards. In Foles first start, Riley was 4-120-1 with a pair of plays over 40 yards. This isn’t a knock on Vick. They just didn’t work well together due to their playing styles. I predicted before Foles first start that Cooper would become a bigger part of the offense. Why? Foles is willing to throw to a covered receiver. Vick prefers guys to be wide open. Cooper isn’t going to get wide open. He’s just not that kind of receiver. Foles threw to covered receivers for 4 years at Arizona. All Foles needs is the right angle. If he’s got that, he’ll put the ball in a tight space and give his receiver a chance to make a play.

The huge question with Riley and other teams is whether he’d be considered a toxic presence in their locker room. The Eagles players have either forgiven him or have learned to set their feelings aside. Riley spent the past 5 months rehabbing his image to those men. It seems to have worked. Players on the other 31 teams might not be so accomodating. They would need time to figure out if Riley was a good guy who had an awful moment or if he’s a jerk that finally got exposed.

I tend to think other teams would be nervous about Riley for a variety of reasons. He just had a breakout year. That screams caveat emptor. History is filled with guys who got a deal after a career year and who then faded into the background. Riley is a tough sell to the locker room because of his incident. The coach or GM who signs him will also have to deal with some media backlash. Riley isn’t a #1 receiver and he’s not a natural slot. He is really limited to being the #2 guy. He needs the right pieces around him to succeed.

If he’s smart, Riley will stay put. This is a situation where he knows he can succeed. He’s got to see what’s out there, though. I get that. I just don’t see many teams going for him. One that would be interesting is the Patriots. Belichick loves WRs who will block and do the dirty work. They’s had a very hard time developing weapons for Brady. With Gronk being injured, the Pats could use a good RZ weapon. They didn’t have any receiver with more than 6 TDs this year. Brady and Belichick could sell any player to their locker room.

This is going to be a really interesting situation to watch play out.

_


  • jay ray

    Wasn’t Asomugha simply just done?

    • Chippah

      He had lost a step but that was exacerbated by Juan using him in zone. He had spent his entire career in man coverage using the sideline as an extra defender. Going from that style of play to primarily zone late in your career is really tough.

      • Aran

        So he didn’t retire because he also believed he was done?

      • Sean

        He played the fourth-most man-press in the league during 2011. His usage wasn’t the issue, his talent simply disappeared overnight.

        • Ben Hert

          This is one of those debates that I wish would just die. Not meaning to be rude to you here or anything, but just thinking about his tenure and the team during it, makes me sick.

  • mcud

    Put him on a bus. He’s completely replaceable, even before considering the fact that he is also a jackass.

    • TommyLawlor

      Harsh, but I see where you are coming from.

      • mcud

        I have faith in Chip and the system to replace Riley. As for the personality stuff, actions have consequences, and playing in the NFL is a privilege. I want to root for players that are both good AND likable. Cooper isn’t so good that I can ignore one for the other.

        • Aran

          I don’t think it’s efficient to get rid of replaceable players quite this early in their stints with a team or in their careers.

          • mcud

            Aran, I would submit that no player that is merely “replaceable” should see a 2nd contract.

          • Aran

            I think I get your sentiment, but that’s highly impractical and naive of how negotiations (and locker room chemistry building) works in the NFL.

          • mcud

            One of us is being naive. We can agree to disagree which is which I guess.

          • Aran

            Point being that very few players are absolutely irreplaceable. It’s too subjective to actually put into play and not keep ANYONE into a second contract. You just can’t build a sustainable franchise like that, especially with a salary cap.

          • anon

            is cooper that lockerroom chemistry guy?

          • deg0ey

            They’re only ‘replaceable’ if you have the resources with which to replace them.

            Given that we have a finite number of draft picks and a larger number of ‘replaceable’ players, presumably they can’t all be replaced without using FA. And when you do that, you’re either going to run out of money by signing top-tier guys or replace your ‘replaceable’ guy with someone pretty much the same.

          • anon

            lots of wrs in this draft. not lots of olbs.

        • Maggie

          And yet you looove Shady.

  • Baloophi

    Mock Draft Insanity

    If you’re looking for a waste of time that can generate somewhat unrealistic results, try this simulator:

    http://fanspeak.com/ontheclock

    A few of mine are below. I didn’t do them all through 7 rounds and obviously their algorithm generates some crazy drops, but still, it’s fun to try different strategies.

    Some thoughts:
    * We should drop back from 22. Very frustrating to watch so many great players go before our 2nd and 3rd round picks… would love to get another selection in there.
    * De’Anthony Thomas was consistently my 5a selection
    * Not having a 6th rounder was oddly frustrating
    * Pass rush is hard to acquire! (duh)
    * Loading up on defense with the first few picks – possibly at the expense of a pure BPA strategy – just feels right

    (22) CB – JASON VERRETT – TCU
    (54) S – CALVIN PRYOR – LOUISVILLE
    (86) DE – TREVOR REILLY – UTAH
    (118) CB – CHRIS DAVIS – AUBURN
    (150) RB – DE’ANTHONY THOMAS – OREGON
    (157) OLB – JORDAN TRIPP – MONTANA
    (214) CB – STANLEY JEAN-BAPTISTE – NEBRASKA

    *********

    (22) DE – TRENT MURPHY – STANFORD
    (54) WR – BRANDON COLEMAN – RUTGERS
    (86) S – CALVIN PRYOR – LOUISVILLE
    (118) CB – KEITH MCGILL – UTAH
    (150) RB – DE’ANTHONY THOMAS – OREGON
    (157) WR – MIKE DAVIS – TEXAS

    **********

    (22) DT – RA’SHEDE HAGEMAN – MINNESOTA
    (54) C – TRAVIS SWANSON – ARKANSAS
    (86) S – CALVIN PRYOR – LOUISVILLE
    (118) WR – MARTAVIS BRYANT – CLEMSON
    (150) RB – DE’ANTHONY THOMAS – OREGON
    (157) CB – VICTOR HAMPTON – SOUTH CAROLINA

    ***********

    (22) OLB – RYAN SHAZIER – OHIO STATE
    (54) ILB – SHAYNE SKOV – STANFORD
    (86) S – DEONE BUCANNON – WASHINGTON STATE
    (118) DE – SCOTT CRICHTON – OREGON STATE
    (150) RB – DE’ANTHONY THOMAS – OREGON
    (157) WR – JOSH HUFF – OREGON
    (214) CB – STANLEY JEAN-BAPTISTE – NEBRASKA

    *************

    (22) DT – RA’SHEDE HAGEMAN – MINNESOTA
    (54) CB – KYLE FULLER – VIRGINIA TECH
    (86) S – DEONE BUCANNON – WASHINGTON STATE
    (118) TE – C.J. FIEDOROWICZ – IOWA
    (150) RB – DE’ANTHONY THOMAS – OREGON
    (157) CB – VICTOR HAMPTON – SOUTH CAROLINA
    (214) QB – LOGAN THOMAS – VIRGINIA TECH

    • deg0ey

      I thought someone should probably do one of these without drafting DAT to see what happens. Here’s what I ended up with:

      (22) DT – LOUIS NIX III – NOTRE DAME
      (54) OLB – JEREMIAH ATTAOCHU – GEORGIA TECH
      (86) WR – JARED ABBREDERIS – WISCONSIN
      (118) S – TRE BOSTON – NORTH CAROLINA
      (150) OT – MICHAEL SCHOFIELD – MICHIGAN
      (157) CB – STANLEY JEAN-BAPTISTE – NEBRASKA
      (214) RB – DRI ARCHER – KENT STATE

      The one note I would add is that the guy I actually wanted in the third (Jack Mewhort) came off the board at 81 – if this model allowed trades, I’d be using 5a to trade up and get him instead of Schofield.

      Thoughts?

      • Insomniac

        I would be ok with this draft. I would take someone with more potential than Abberederis in the 3rd though.

        edit: upvoting for Dri just because all of these DAT fanboys are getting irritating.

  • Insomniac

    Riley should start packing his bags now if he wants more than 5 million a year. If he leaves, I would love to see us drafting Kasen Williams, Donte Moncrief, L’Damian Washington, or Devin Street in the later rounds.

  • Chippah

    Anything over $3 mayyyybe $4 million and we let him walk. He has assets that are perfect for Chip’s offense and the eagles have leverage with the locker room situation. That being said, if the Pats are an interesting idea and if they shell out some money he would be a good fit.

    It would be nice to have continuity but he’s replaceable.

    • sprawl

      I think the Pats are more than just an interesting idea… they are an interesting lesson in what could happen if you lack depth behind your top receiving targets in the red zone.

  • Dave

    One of these receivers is Eric Decker and will be awarded a contract most-likely in the $9 mil/year range and the other is Riley Cooper. Can you guess which is Cooper?
    Tommy, if Cooper played 2 years with Peyton and Decker sat behind Maclin until this year, would the conversation be the same?

    Player A Player B
    Height: 6′ 3″ 6′ 3″
    Weight: 217 pounds 222 pounds
    Arm Length: 31″ 32 5/8″
    Hand Size: 9 1/8″ 10 3/8″
    40 Yard Dash: 4.54 seconds 4.53 seconds

    PLAYER A OVERVIEW
    A big receiver with small receiver skills. He is quicker than he is fast and while he has enough speed he is not the type that will take many all the way to the house at the next level. He runs crisp routes and will show a good short burst to separate from defenders but will struggle to maintain that separation. He is a natural receiver that has soft, sure hands and a wide receiving radius that allows him to extend to catch slightly off target throws.
    ANALYSIS
    STRENGTHS
    Possesses great size. Exhibits good quickness & agility which he uses to overcome lack of elite burst. Gets off the ball quickly and is a savvy route runner. Has excellent natural receiving skills. Goes and gets the football, displays great body control in the air and around the sidelines, and isn’t afraid to go over the middle.
    WEAKNESSES
    Lacks elite top end speed which could severely limit his big-play potential at the next level. Lacks a second gear to pull away from defenders after the catch or in and out of his breaks against a corner capable of mirroring him.

    PLAYER B OVERVIEW
    He is a bit of a strider that builds to speed and can struggle when he needs to sink his hips to come out of his breaks with a big burst to separate from defenders. He can struggle on his release against a good press corner and will need some work on running more precise routes.
    ANALYSIS
    STRENGTHS
    Possesses ideal height and bulk to play on the outside at the next level. Is a high-character, two-sport collegiate athlete. Plays with a high level of intelligence. Athletic receiver for his size. Shows the willingness to catch the ball over the middle in traffic.
    WEAKNESSES
    Builds speed and is not explosive off the line. Must improve his ability to gain separation as a route runner. Long-term football future could be cloudy as he has other options (baseball). Blocking could be better but he does have the build and frame to make strides here.

    BTW, Player B is Riley

    • nevadausa16

      No, the conversation wouldn’t be the same. Because Decker would have made Avant extinct and received a new contract, which would let the Eagles let Cooper walk now.

  • Baloophi

    Eagles have a LOT of leverage vis-a-vis Cooper’s incident.

    Hopefully they use it, and hopefully Cooper realizes the home-town discount will be worth its weight in gold in terms of not having to adjust to a new locker room and media.

    But, I don’t think he’s irreplaceable in this offense. He DOES help free up Jackson… if we ever decide to throw it to him.

    • TommyLawlor

      Cooper is replaceable, but he’s also a known quantity. The guy you replace him with could be great or could bust. All in all, I’d rather keep him, but I won’t be devastated if he leaves. Wish him well and move on to the new guy.

      • Baloophi

        Agree on “known quantity” aspect. Just depends on how much value ($) the team will place on that.

        I would certainly like to see him back… he really does help spread the field.

  • nicolajNN

    I have to say I’m worried that Cooper is a “one-year-wonder” even if he stays.

    • Aran

      You could likely say the same about St. Nick

      • ICDogg

        It’s not Foles’ contract year, so it’s a different kind of risk

  • Dave

    One problem with letting Cooper walk is that Desean is a “basket catcher”, meaning he waits for the ball to come to his hands. I understand he does this because of his small stature. The problem is that Maclin is the same type of receiver.

    Cooper and Ertz offer the ability to high-point the ball to make the tough catch. Think of Eli’s history of putting the ball up for grabs and receiver’s battling for the ball and coming down with the catch. If Cooper leaves and is replaced by Maclin, we would be starting 2 guys who will not fight for the catch. Defenses may be afraid of their speed, but under tight coverage situations, I’d take Cooper in a heartbeat.

    • Aran

      I wouldn’t necessarily say the evidence is on your side. I saw DJax make several veteran moves without the ball in his hands in order to GET the ball this season

    • BlindChow

      I’m hesitant to write Cooper off as well. The NFL is filled with arrogant GM’s assuming they can simply plug in a rookie receiver and get the same production they were getting from a vet they think is too expensive. There are plenty of early round WR’s who’ve busted (Britt, Jenkins, Baldwin), so I would be very nervous about simply abandoning something that has worked very well just to save a million in cap space that you won’t be using anyway.

      I’d like to think the FO will have a pretty good gauge of what Cooper is worth to the team, and their assessment won’t be affected by penny pinching or draft status.

  • makarov123

    I think Igglesnest noted on Twitter today that 2013 was the first year Cooper caught 50%+ of his targeted passes. That doesn’t make for a stellar career, regardless of the number of overall targets.

    Cooper is worth keeping for around $2M-$3M / year, but definitely not at $4M-$5M.

    Me, I would love to get Maclin on an inexpensive 1-2 year deal, and draft Allen Robinson in the first round. Give ARobb time to adjust to the NFL, and have one of the deepest WR corps in the league. Especially if Cooper is retained.

    Imagine 4 wide – Jackson, Robinson, Cooper, and Maclin – with Shady in the backfield. I double dog dare anyone to stack the box then.

    I’m a little enthralled with Robinson – 6’3″, 210 pounds, good speed for his size and excellent leaping ability, willing and able to run block, good hands. He could turn out to be an upgrade over anyone the Eagles have on their roster.

  • Dominik

    Hey guys, I found an interesting nugget while listening to „The Herd“ from Colin Cowherd.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=10258651

    He talks Kelly round about minute 28.

    Two things stand out for me:

    (1) He says that Chip told some buddies four years ago that he doesn’t understand the teams in the NFL who pay their QB 100 Mio dollars. If he’d be an NFL coach, he’d draft defense heavy, because with his system, he doesn’t need extraordinary talent.

    Sounds not familiar to the Chip we know here in Philly, but talking to the media is something different than talking to friends.
    Also: the Draft 2013 speaks a different language.

    (2) Cowherd, imho one of the smartest national guys out there, actually believes Chip and basically says between the lines that he thinks Kelly is right. Other HCs need great QBs, Kelly doesn’t. He has the system for that.

    Wow. I mean, I’m a believer in Kelly, but even I wouldn’t say that. We all like Foles, but it would be great if we don’t have to invest 100 Mio dollars in a QB. Look at the Falcons, the Cowboys, the Steelers, the Ravens, the Lions – it didn’t work out for any of them. And that’s because their QBs are
    very good, but not great. If Foles turns out to be Rodgers, Manning, Brady
    or Brees kind of great, the money is well invested. If not, better call Chip, to almost quote Breaking Bad. :D

    Another interesting point: maybe the Cowboys and the Giants game with our ridiculously bad QB play has changed Chips mind. Who knows? I like the attitude, nonetheless. And I like it that there is a smart national person out there who thinks the world of Chip.

    Your thoughts?

    • TommyLawlor

      I can see where Chip might have felt that way when looking at the NFL from afar. I doubt he feels that way after seeing things up close. Just a guess though.

      There is an argument to be made about over-drafting QBs and throwing them onto weaker teams. That’s a recipe for trouble. But if you have a chance to land a truly great QB, I think you go for it.

      • Dominik

        The good thing with Foles is: we have one more year to see what he can do. The bad thing is: we have only one more year to see what he can do. Would love to have 2 years. Maybe we have 2 years, but I doubt Foles will play with his rookie contract if he can repeat a season like that. I think he would hold out. There’s just too much on the line, from a financial point of view. One injury and the 80 million become 40, 30 or even less.

        I just hate those QB contracts, to be honest with you. I get where they are coming from (32 teams, not even 16 good QBs). But they hurt the teams. Maybe not as much as losing the QB and having bad QB play, but it hurts.

        On the other hand, I think you can pay Manning, Rodgers, Brees and Brady whatever you want. They don’t care about the circumstances, they elevate their team to a contender (with Brees you have to put Payton into the equation, though).

        Now we can’t say Foles needs to be as good as those four. That’s ridiculous. But I really hope he shows signs that he can be as good as they are sometime in the future. Because otherwise I would have a bad feeling giving him the kind of money he will get from other teams.

        • Maggie

          Foles has shown incredible cool and excellent decision-making much of the time. I doubt these assets will go away as he gains experience, just become even better. His occasional hesitations and poor decisions should be reduced, again, with experience. He only took a few games to change many people’s minds about his abilities. Now he has a whole off-season and training camp to practice running for 5 yards.

          • Dominik

            Foles will get better with experience, but there is always the other side of the story: all the D-Coords in the NFL now have a ton of film from Foles (and Kellys offense, for that matter). The days in which Haslett has watched a ton of Oregon games to prepare for the match against the Eagles are over.

            I’m no negledelphian. But with QBs, it’s always about constancy. Look at how great RGIII and Kaepernick looked about a year ago. Didn’t play at this level (at all) this season. Don’t be negative, but don’t be too optimistic (I know how small that line is). I like the tone T-Law always finds with Foles. Acknowledge what he’s done this season, but be reasonable with it. And be very careful about a huge contract.

    • Tom33

      I’ve been thinking this as well. If Foles is really just a product of Chip’s system, that would be perfect. He can put up good #’s for another couple of years and then move on. The Eagles then avoid having 20% of their cap tied up in 1 guy. If he somehow turns into Brady/Brees/Peyton – then you pay him because he makes everybody else better. But if he is just Flacco/Cutler/etc – you have a lot more money to make the rest of your team better as long as you are developing his eventual replacement.
      I wonder if Chip’s college background is part of this since he was used to losing guys every couple of years.

      • shah8

        I’m not okay with this, because undertalent at the most important position tends to get shown up in the playoffs. The primary issue with the 100 million dollar contract is that some of the QBs who got such contracts, like Matt Ryan, more or less requires a stacked offense to be really good. 100 mil to a guy like Rodgers or even Cutler/Romo/Stafford is far less of an issue than it is with Ryan or A. Smith or Dalton. Look at how viable Car and Sea offenses were without great WR or great OL most of the year.

        • Sean

          A few points here: Cutler, Romo, and Stafford have had as much playoff success combined between the three of them as the “undertalented” Matt Ryan. At least Ryan has gotten to the playoffs consistently. In terms of Carolina and Seattle, their offenses have been the weak links on their respective teams this year, and any success they have had is predominantly from the run, despite both being led by superstar QBs with all the talent in the world.

          • shah8

            Well, I don’t consider Matt Ryan undertalented, so much as on the border. Undertalented starts pretty much below him and younger Schaub. Which is why I didn’t label him so.

            Next, all three of Cutler, Romo, and Stafford have had other issues prevent them from having many playoff opportunities. Joe Flacco went to the playoffs because his team was talented and better coached. Ryan got his first trip because of a weak schedule, same as Josh Freeman’s first decent season. I mention them because they are clearly able to rise above the moment and win a game on their own account. Moreover, all three have proven ability to work with lack of talent (Stafford when Megatron was injured at various points) at crucial points.

            Sea and Car have relatively little receiving talent, not quite so pathetic as the Jets. If you just added DJax to the Panthers, you’d see a huge jump in long TD passes, and more passing in general. DJax is far more reliable than Ginn. The point is that a reasonable offense is still happening despite low amounts of talent on the OL and at WR. Which is what you cannot expect from lesser talented QBs.

          • Sean

            Exactly, those three haven’t even been able to get to the point wherein you claim their superior talent would shine through. Their teams are hamstrung by those contracts (the Bears will be) and don’t have enough talent elsewhere already on the roster that those talented, yet overpaid QBs can take them very far with their big-time talent. All three have also had a great deal of help. Romo has had multiple pro-bowl receiving options throughout his entire career (TO, Austin, Dez, Witten). Stafford has had the second greatest receiver of all-time and this year two excellent backs. Cutler had little offensive help for a while, but a great defense that would put the ball back in his hands with great field position, and this year had a trio of huge targets at his disposal, along with a gifted offensive coach.

      • anon

        qbs get paid b/c if you dont pay them someone else will. there’s not enough decent talent at the position so it’s really bird in hand.

      • Maggie

        Rodgers did not put up good numbers for a couple of years then get dumped off. He didn’t even get off the bench for 3 years.

    • Maggie

      Steelers? I don’t like Big Ben as a person, but, Super Bowl!

      • Dominik

        They won the Superbowl in 2008. But since they gave him his huge contract extension a few years back, they are not the same team anymore. A perfect example for the Salary Cap problems.

        An even better example are the Falcons, though. Huge contract for Ryan = less money for the O-Line = Ryan doesn’t play the way he should be earning that much money. That’s simplistic, I know that. And I know about their injuries. But they went from 13-3 to 4-12. That’s not all about the injuries.

        We could consider ourself lucky if Foles turns out to be Big Ben or Ryan. Those are very good QBs. But we shouldn’t be lucky about paying him that much money. For that much money, to put it this way, “very good” isn’t good enough, you have to be great to be successful AND earn 100 million.

  • mksp

    Chiefs are an option as well I’d guess.

    I’d bring Reilly back for $4 mil per year on a 3yr deal. Seems appropriate.

    Bad FA class, but tons of WRs in the draft this year….

    Plus Maclin might be back.

    His drop in the Saints game still drives me crazy. Would’ve completely changed the game. Perfect call, perfect execution by everyone but RC. Ugh.

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t think Smith is great at getting the ball to a tightly covered WR, but maybe the Chiefs would have interest.

  • zbone95

    One team I could possible see overpaying Cooper is the Jets. They are in dire need of weapons for geno and i guess marty m. their o-coordinator is familiar with him. But it’s just a guess. I would bring back cooper at a fair price he is replaceable…

    • TommyLawlor

      No way you put him in front of the NY media. Riley would be asked a million questions. All it takes is one answer where he didn’t say the perfect thing and he’s got a major controversy.

      • zbone95

        He should pull a marshawn lynch and not talk to the media for a whole year haha

  • Iskar36

    In terms of Cooper, I think part of the equation is how Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman views building the team. We have talked in the past that most good teams have something specific that they are great at. Our offense was fantastic this last season, and I do believe Cooper is an adequate starter, but as other people have said, he is replaceable. No defense is going to go out of their way to shut down Cooper. No one is going to have exotic coverages for him. That’s not necessarily a negative for Cooper, but if you do invest in a WR who is now no longer just adequate, but is actually someone who pushes DeSean for the “#1″ WR on the team, you an argue that it has a very significant impact on the offense as a whole. With teams often loading the box to slow down Shady, with two top WRs, the offense goes from being very good to being outright dominant.

    The other side of that coin obviously is that prioritizing WR means you have to sacrifice a little elsewhere. We all want the defense to improve and I think most of us agree that should be were the team focuses their resources. Keeping Cooper, who presumably you wouldn’t have to break the bank for, allows you to have a known commodity that I think most of us agree is adequate and frees up space to focus on the defense more.

    With all of that said, if Cooper insists on getting paid big, I’d let him walk without hesitance. He is very replaceable either with another adequate WR or even a more dominant one.

    Just to put things in some statistical perspective, I can’t remember where I heard this, but looking online to confirm it, James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, and Reggie Brown each had nearly identical seasons (if not better) as Cooper in terms of receptions, yards and TDs.

    • makarov123

      2013 Cooper 47 receptions / 835 yards / 17.8 yards per reception / 8 TD
      2001 Thrash 63/833/13.2/ 8 TD
      2002 Pinkston 60/798/13.3/ 7 TD
      2006 Brown 46/816/17.7/ 8 TD

      Functionally identical season to Reggie Brown.

  • austinfan

    #2 WRs who can make plays are pretty rare, and many are future #1 WRs on their first contract (in other words, if they keep producing, they’re gonna make $8-10M on their next contract).

    list of #2 WRs who gained 800 yards or more last year:

    Jeffrey 1,421

    Decker 1,288

    Floyd 1,041

    Hartline 1,016

    Nate Washington 919

    Nicks 896

    Cooper 835

    James Jones 817

    Hopkins 802

    Only 35 WRs had 800 yards receiving in 2014

    • Anders

      Is Jeffrey really WR2 anymore when he outgained Marshall?

      • anon

        yeah that’s 1a and 1b — lucky chi.

  • Weapon Y

    Because of Cooper’s unique situation, I’d be surprised if he left. Maclin is the far more interesting case. He definitely could leave to be reunited with Andy. He’s a Missouri kid so I could see him wanting to play for the Rams and Chiefs. He might also get nervous that Cooper, DJax, and the tight ends will take away his touches. On the other hand, he might not want to leave his friends on the team or he might truly believe in Chip’s system. I don’t know how it will play out.

  • whackyplague

    Do you think Maclin or Cooper is more likely to be back next year? Maclin has more upside, whereas Cooper seems to be the safe choice. I’d personally take Maclin if we can only have one, and try to find a Cooper replacement in the draft.

    • holeplug

      Maclin more likely. Someone gonna splurge on Riley.

  • bdbd20

    I’d love to see him get a nice contract from New England or maybe Indy.

    I think he’s the type of player that you keep replacing in the draft.

    Maclin is gonna be a tougher issue if another team offers him some serious $$$.

  • xeynon

    Coop had a nice season, but I wouldn’t give him too extravagant an offer. He’s a solid starter who fits the offense, but I don’t think he has much upside beyond that. I
    have a hard time thinking other teams aren’t going to be wary of bringing him in given the concert incident and the fact that he’s something of a one year wonder. The only reason he was able to stay on the roster was the team’s need at WR and the fact that he had black teammates like Avant and Vick who are respected in the locker room, know him well, and were willing to stick up for his character. With other teams, he’d have neither that not the assurance that his skill set would fit into the offense. He’s best off staying put.

  • SteveH

    Oof, I’m not really thrilled about the idea of committing more than 4m/year to Cooper… especially if we get Maclin into the fold on a reasonable 1 year deal. The best place for Riley is probably here in philly as well, going to a new team he’d have to win over his teammates, the local media, etc. and who knows if the coach would be able to handle any locker room tension that would result from it as skillfully as the Chippah did.

    • Maggie

      He wouldn’t have to “win over his teammates”. most of the guys on other teams already know each other from college or from playing together on other teams. If Avant tells a buddy in Oakland that Cooper is okay, do you seriously think the buddy would rip him?

      • Jernst

        Yes

  • nevadausa16

    back in 2012, i thought Foles had a real good connection with Maclin in the 7 games they played. Maclin had 35 catches w/ FOles. maybe Foles is just really good at connecting with the receivers who play, whatever their names. or maybe it was Reid’s system. i don’t know.
    cost-wise, the eagles paid steve smith $2,000,000 guaranteed in 2011 with is bad knee. shouldn’t Maclin get that much at least or even more. if the Eagels are willing to pay Cooper $4,000,000, that would be a lot of money for those two guys unless Avant’s cut and that would save $2,250,000 cash.

    • A_T_G

      Oh God, no. “FOles” is spreading?! I might have to start rooting for Barkley to steal the job…

  • cliff henny

    my initial reaction is if someone offers Cooper Hartline money, pat him on the back and wish him good luck. but if eagles dont end up with either of coop or mac, all of a sudden going with d-jax, and love the guy but he is slightly sensitive about contract issues, and 2 rookies. not really any other free agents that get me excited. isnt the off-seasons great? one day i’m picturing jax coop mac and landry, the next a sulking jax and 2 brick-handed lost rookie wrs. as always, will end up somewhere in the middle

  • Vick or Nick

    Heres the deal.

    When you pay a player it should be for what you THINK the player can do going FORWARD, not what he’s done in the PAST. It’s a cut throat type of business but ultimately thats what proven to work.

    Watch this if you haven’t. As much as I hate the patriots, they almost always know when to let a player go (ex. Pat Chung).

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10264341

    Riley is fooling himself if he thinks there is a better situation for him than the 2014 Eagles. Plain and simple.

    IF Coop doesn’t work out, no big deal. Plenty of options in the draft.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2014/story/_/id/10274669/kelvin-benjamin-florida-state-seminoles-entering-nfl-draft

    Kelvin Benjamin just declared for NFL Draft. I know Anders has been adamant about how he wasn’t coming out this year (HA! jk). He has a late first round grade for now (ranked 29 by ESPN) but Im sure that will change.

    • Anders

      It is very rare that RS sophs declare for the draft. That is why I predicted he wouldn’t come out

    • shah8

      I would draft Benjamin @ 22, depending on how fast he is. The big issue is that he would be close to the end of his rookie deal before he’s any good as a receiver.

      And we really need defensive talent.

      • mksp

        Inconsistent hands scare me.

        • shah8

          Cannot be worse than Stephen Hill.

          • mksp

            Would you draft Stephen Hill w/ the 22nd pick? I wouldn’t….

        • Insomniac

          He dealt with a hand injury this season.

  • Joe Minx

    Now the Bucs want to interview Gamble too.

  • shah8

    No, Foles is even less likely to throw to covered receivers in any traditional sense. Vick doesn’t throw because he generally doesn’t *have* to, and generally, when he does, he’s far more accurate. The issue with Riley Cooper here is that he’s still a terrible route runner, and has roughly the skill level of a more experienced Stephen Burton, who’s god knows where now. The production is there because the lack of talent of Foles and lack of talent of Cooper meshes, specifically in Foles throwing a ton of not-kosher jump balls. The rest of the production are from hitches. There are not very many plays where Cooper did a good job running a route and catching a ball downfield. There are some, but not as many as there should be. Which makes fitting him in an offense that doesn’t stretch horizontally like Philly or NO, a dubious proposition. All four of Kulp’s comparisons are *far* better WRs than Cooper, with only a question mark for Amendola’s tendency to get injured. No way on God’s green earth would I pick Cooper over a short term contract for Burleson, for example, given his age. Royal is on a cheap contract given his relative production.

    • Neil

      ” The production is there because the lack of talent of Foles and lack of talent of Cooper meshes”

      What?

      • Anders

        negative times negative is positive kind of thing?

      • SteveH

        Don’t try to understand it, just move on with your day.

      • A_T_G

        I hope we can find some crappy CBs to mesh with our safeties. That seems easier than finding better safeties.

        • shah8

          I don’t think Nnamdi can mesh with Patrick.

    • ICDogg

      Burton, appropriately, is on the JAGs.

    • Maggie

      What? The article just said Cooper is an excellent route runner across the middle, right where the Eagles want him.

    • A Roy

      Are you really Joe Banner? That’s the stoopidest statement I’ve read. And I read EMB for years.

  • ojdiddoit

    He is a smaller Ertz in Kellys offense if need be and very replaceable at anything more than 3 million per..That drop was huge,taking the Birds out of a very big drive not to mention he was and is a tension in the locker room

  • Corry

    My initial reaction to some of the numbers I saw there in regards to the number 2 receiver is to let Cooper walk. I guess the big question for me though is if Maclin can comeback and if he’s going to be healthy. More than likely, if Maclin is healthy, he is the #2 receiver opposite Jackson and Cooper is #3, so I wouldn’t approach those numbers at all in this case. However if Maclin can’t/won’t come back or isn’t 100% healthy to start the season, then that likely places more value on Cooper. Also, if Ertz is emerging, how much does that devalue the #3 receiver?

    The nightmare scenario is an unhappy, pouting Jackson on one side and a lost rookie or Avant on the other. You can trot Ertz out there more, but you still need 2 wide receivers you can rely on. Chip is a great offensive mind, but I’m not sure he can scheme out of that clusterf***.

  • Jason_E

    I’d like Cooper back. I’ve been a supporter since we drafted him. He finally lived up to my expectations, I’d hate to see him leave now. I don’t think anyone is going to throw big money at him, given his incident. It seems more likely that he would sit on the market for a few days. First day FA signings draw media attention. I doubt very many teams are going to want to draw the extra attention. Frankly, I’d rather trade Jackson, sign Mac and Coop, and look to draft a big WR in the early rounds.

    Jackson is a dynamic playmaker, but I get tired of seeing him do nothing against elite DBs, and he has a history of disappearing for a few weeks at a time. Add in the fact that him and Foles don’t seem to be connecting like he did with Vick, and the fact that with him wanting a new deal it could be 2011 all over again. Well, I’m ready to move on.

  • planetx1971

    He seems to be a polarizing subject just in a comment forum. Imagine him having to walk into a brand new predominantly African American locker room AGAIN with all eyes on him, as the “N-bomb guy”. I bet he stays here for reasonable pay check.

  • anon

    I like Cooper, I liked him a lot more before the summer incident, i thought he was underutilized. I think he’s a good wr, I don’t think his better than most other WR2s but maybe i’m giving CK too much credit and should give the players more. Good thing about this year is that the draft is before FA starts so we can go BPA and take it from there.

  • Phils Goodman

    Tommy. how do you feel about Maclin in the slot?

    I think that’s going to be an important question for the Eagles FO to figure out soon.

    They need to sign an outside guy, sign a slot guy, probably cut Avant (or pay him in accordance with a reduced role), plus I’d like to see them draft a receiver from this year’s great crop.

  • Erik Richardson

    As the saying goes, “You will always overpay in FA.”

  • Cafone

    Let him go jump fences in Jacksonville.