While many will celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles re-signing wide receiver Riley Cooper to a five-year contract, it’s in fact a questionable move that brings more risk than potential reward. It’s certainly a move that the Eagles made a bit too hastily this early in this offseason.
Signing Cooper to this extension implies that he is an important piece of Philadelphia’s future, which is shocking after he was nearly cut by the Eagles during training camp last offseason when a video of Cooper using a racist term in a threatening way went viral. The memory of that incident has started to fade, but it wouldn’t take much for people to be reminded of Cooper’s hurtful comments. Retaining him for five more years seems a bit risky on the chance that he turns into a one-hit wonder.
There’s also the matter of Cooper’s performance on the field. He did have a breakout season in 2013, catching 47 passes for eight touchdowns and over 800 yards. But he didn’t start to come on until the midway point in the season, and he had modest statistics up to that point in his career. So committing a five-year contract to a player based on 12 good games seems like a rash move.
The signing of Cooper could be a sign that the Eagles don’t think they’ll be able to re-sign Jeremy Maclin, who is also a free agent after missing the 2013 season due to injury. Being so quick to sign Cooper makes it seem like Philadelphia is settling for him, which is the wrong move to make even if they don’t think they can afford to bring back Maclin. Moreover, committing money to Cooper will make it tougher to afford Maclin, and it’s too early in the offseason to give up on signing a player most teams would prefer to Cooper.
With the 2014 NFL Draft being absolutely loaded at the wide receiver position, the Eagles don’t have to be afraid of losing either Cooper or Maclin in free agency. With Cooper specifically, signing him to such a long extension this early in the offseason is an odd move on the part of the Eagles.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.