The National Football League is largely a copycat league, especially when it comes to player contracts, and in the past few days, a pair of starting running backs signed contract extensions that will likely affect Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch signed a four-year deal worth $31 million, including $18 million guaranteed. Lynch, who turns 26 next month, rushed for 285 yards, 1204 yards, and 12 touchdowns last season with Seattle. He caught fire in the season’s last two months, topping 100 yards six times.
He also pulled off this run against the Eagles that still makes me sick to my stomach every time I think about it.
I don’t think the Lynch signing was a particularly good deal. It’s way too much guaranteed money for a player who has been inconsistent since he was drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft.
The other running back to sign a contract extension was Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. Foster signed a five-year deal worth $43.5 million, with $20 million guaranteed. Foster, 25, led the NFL in rushing in 2010, and rushed for 1224 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games last season.
I’m still not convinced that the Texans didn’t give too much money to Foster. After all, I strongly believe that running backs are extremely overrated, and I would be extremely careful about giving $20 million guaranteed to any running back. They’re all one hit away from the end of their career.
Regardless of my thoughts on the running back position, the Eagles will likely extend the contract of star tailback LeSean McCoy, whose contract expires after the 2012 season.
McCoy, who doesn’t turn 24 until July, broke the Eagles’ single-season record for rushing touchdowns (17) and total touchdowns (20) last year. He recorded 1309 yards on the ground and also caught 48 balls.
He has remained injury-free throughout his three-year career, and his production has steadily increased each season. He rarely fumbles, he is good at catching the ball out of the backfield, and he has a positive attitude in the locker room.
You could make a case that McCoy is the best running back in the NFL right now. At the very minimum, he’s top five, and in the same class as Arian Foster.
So will he receive the same amount of money as Foster?
I think he’ll receive just a little bit less. I’m expecting a four to five year deal worth about $8 million per year.
Let’s go with four years, $32 million, with $18 million guaranteed, and lots of incentives for performance and health. That would lock up McCoy through the 2016 season, at which point he would be 28 years old.
I don’t think the Eagles will get extreme and give him a dumb deal, like the eight-year contract the Panthers gave DeAngelo Williams when he was 28 years old. Andy Reid may not use running backs as much as we would all like, but he is good at realizing that they tend to burn out when they’re overworked, and I think he will make sure not to lock up McCoy for too long.
I expect McCoy to receive a new contract before the 2012 season. If he doesn’t, I still have faith that the Eagles will get it done before free agency hits next year.