The Philadelphia Eagles announced new contracts for Jason Kelce and Riley Cooper on Thursday morning that will have both players locked up for the considerable future. Kelce's extension runs for seven years long, and Cooper inked a five-year deal. Both players spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon and expressed their desire to commit to the Eagles long-term.
The Eagles always had interest in bringing Cooper back, but it seemed like Cooper might test the free agent market and take the best deal he was offered. That didn't end up being the case. Cooper said he didn't want to play for anyone else for the Eagles. "I didn't test free agency because I wanted to be here. I wanted to be with Chip Kelly, Nick Foles. Why would anyone leave that?"
Of course, most players will say things like this when they sign new contracts. Make no mistake, the money is often the most important part of the deal. Players aren't going to play for free. But Cooper's words go beyond lip service. He knew returning to Philadelphia was one of his best options. Thanks to playing in Chip Kelly's offense and finding a special connection with Nick Foles, Cooper experienced a career year. "I wouldn't be in the situation I am now if it wasn't for Nick (Foles). He likes throwing me the ball. Our chemistry weighed into this [decision]."
Another factor that may have been considered in Cooper's decision to return is his familiarity with the Eagles locker room. Cooper doesn't have to worry about going to another team and wonder how he will be received by new faces due to the racial slur incident last summer. Speaking of this incident, one reporter asked Cooper's opinion on the NFL's newly proposed penalty for penalizing players who use the N-word. Cooper's response? "I think it's a good rule."
One of those teammates that helped keep the team together was none other than Jason Kelce, who had been with Cooper when the incident occurred. Kelce's strong presence in the locker room was matched by his quality performance on the field. It wasn't a surprise to see Kelce extended this offseason, but it's the terms of his deal that were interesting. Kelce, who will turn 27 in November, is now under contract until 2020. Kelce could have opted to take a shorter deal in hopes to get more money in the future, but he opted for less money on a longer deal instead.
Kelce told the media he's financially secure with his new deal. "I got more than enough to live comfortably," he quipped. Kelce assured the media he's not exactly a big spender, saying he's just a T-shirt and sweatpants kind of guy. One big purchase Kelce does plan to make is paying off the debt on his parent's home in Cleveland. A solid gesture by a solid guy.
While Cooper and Kelce are certainly glad to be back in Philly, so is the Eagles' franchise. Locking up homegrown talent to fair contracts is a good reflection of the organization.