It's official: the Philadelphia Eagles have signed wide receiver Riley Cooper to a new contract. Cooper was scheduled to be a free agent at the start of the new league year on March 11, but now he's signed with the team for the considerable future. According to reports, the terms of the deal include $25 million over 5 years, with only $8 million guaranteed. Cooper's deal will last until 2018.
Cooper, who will turn 27 in September, has been with the Eagles since he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Cooper never started more than five games through the first three years of his career, but he was thrust into a starting role last year when Jeremy Maclin went down with an ACL injury in training camp. Cooper started off the season slow but seemed to excel when Nick Foles took over at quarterback midseason. The 6-3, 222 pound receiver's career year featured 47 receptions for 835 yards (17.8 average) and 8 touchdowns.
It's quite an interesting turn of events that have led up to this contract. Cooper was largely just a backup wide receiver and special teams player early on in his career. When Maclin went down to injury, many were skeptical of Cooper as an adequate replacement. Shortly after Maclin's injury, Cooper drew the ire of many when a video of him saying a racial slur at a Philly concert went viral on the internet. Cooper spent a brief amount of time away from the team before returning. Then the regular season started and he went on to have a career year in Chip Kelly's offense. Go figure.
Locking up Cooper long-term helps fill a major position need for the Eagles. The aforementioned Jeremy Maclin is scheduled to be a free agent if the Eagles don't sign him before the start of free agency. It's been reported that the Eagles and Maclin are making progress on a short-term deal, but nothing is official yet.
[Note by Brandon Lee Gowton, 02/27/14 4:50 PM EST] - PFT is reporting that Jeremy Maclin wants a one-year contract, but the Eagles desire a multi-year deal.