Two of the players who made this list were signed by the Eagles this offseason. The first is running back DeMarco Murray
"Contract Flaw: Paying for the Outlier
I wrote all about why the Murray deal was paying for an unrepeatable 2014 back in March. In a year, it will be clear whether Murray was establishing a new level of performance (and health) or whether Chip Kelly bought high on a talented-if-brittle running back."
The Eagles signed Murray to a five-year, $40 million contract with $18 million guaranteed. There are definitely concerns about Murray's production following such a big workload in 2014. He also won't have the benefit of running behind the Cowboys' offensive line. Kelly is seemingly hoping to mitigate Murray's durability issues with the combination of sports science and a healthy running back rotation. Murray won't be required to carry Philadelphia's offense like he did in Dallas last season. Paying running backs big money can be dangerous due to the fickle nature and short shelf-life of the position, but the run game is incredibly important to the Eagles' offensive success so the risk could be worth it.
Next up is cornerback Byron Maxwell:
"Contract Flaw: System Guy Out of System
In another big Philadelphia deal I wrote about at length in March, the Eagles gave Maxwell a six-year, $63 million deal after 17 starts, during which he was flanked by one of the best secondaries in league history and coached up by Pete Carroll. You can’t fault the Eagles for wanting to start anybody else after the Bradley Fletcher fiasco last season, but this is an enormous bet that should raise all kinds of red flags."
There's no question the Eagles were desperate to add Maxwell; the team paid him $63 million over six years with $22 million guaranteed. This contract won't ever be a bargain but there's certainly hope Maxwell will be good player for Philadelphia.
The third Eagles player to make this list was given their contract last offseason: Riley Cooper.
"Contract Flaws: … all four?
Cooper might actually fit all four of the criteria for a bad contract, which would be a rare sweep. The Eagles gave him a five-year, $22.5 million deal last offseason on the strength of what was honestly a pretty underwhelming season; 47 catches for 835 yards and eight scores as a full-time starter in a high-powered attack like Philadelphia’s just isn’t that impressive. Even worse, he really had only three big games that season, and the biggest (139 yards, three touchdowns) came against the lowly Raiders. And this is all without considering his infamous moment of off-field racism. He responded by catching 55 passes for 577 yards as a full-time starter last year, and with the Eagles having shifted their spending on offense toward running backs, Cooper will be stuck in a meaningful role again in 2015."
Cooper was arguably the worst wide receiver in the NFL last year, so there's no question his deal is awful. I know a lot of people rightfully didn't want the Eagles to re-sign Cooper after 2013, but I don't know if anyone truly expected him to be this bad.
The former Eagles player to make the list was Nate Allen. For some reason the Oakland Raiders thought it was a good idea to give the veteran safety a 4-year, $23 million deal with nearly $12 million guaranteed. This happened just one year after Allen was on the open market and re-signed with in Philadelphia for one-year, $2 million.
If you're looking for a silver lining with the three bad Eagles contracts, the good news is they're not impossible to get out of in the future. The Eagles are stuck with Cooper this season but they can get rid of him after this year. Maxwell can realistically be cut after 2016 if things go wrong. The Eagles can cut ties with Murray as soon as 2017 but more realistically 2018.