When the Philadelphia Eagles deliberate Riley Cooper’s next contract offer, his 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013 will certainly enhance his value. The question is, will other NFL teams jump in and overpay him?
No. In years past, it was conceivable that Cooper’s breakout fourth year would have been enough to warrant a big payday from an unsuspecting NFL team in desperate need of a steady presence at the X wide receiver position. In recent years, however, teams have begun using more sophisticate scouting methods and advanced statistical analysis to grade and measure player performance.
When NFL GM review Cooper’s 2013 season, they will see a wide receiver who compiles statistics, particularly against poor pass defenses. Cooper is too slow to get behind safeties and lacks the necessary lateral quickness to consistently separate from cornerbacks. Outside Chip Kelly‘s high volume offense, he projects as a third-down possession receiver, not an every-down playmaker.
NFL teams also know about Cooper’s now infamous rant. Fortunately for Cooper, the Eagles’ team leaders, led by Michael Vick, publicly supported him in the wake of his racist comments. Players on other teams do not know Cooper personally and may understandably still hold a grudge against the embattled wide receiver.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have genuinely embraced Cooper. He has shown good rapport with Nick Foles, and his skill set is a schematic fit for Kelly’s offense. His blocking proficiency and deep understanding of the Eagles’ offensive schemes, which requires wide receivers to frequently set blocks on the perimeter, makes him uniquely valuable to Philadelphia.
Cooper’s lack of explosive athleticism and questionable off-field behavior have made him untouchable for many NFL GMs. His Eagles teammates have forgiven him, and the team’s coaches see him as a good fit for their offensive system. This offseason, Cooper is unlikely to receive a lucrative contract offer from another team and will likely opt to stay in Philadelphia.