Riley Cooper’s Contract Draws Back on Second Target Market

I think most are aware by now of the particulars of Riley Cooper’s $22.5 million extension with the Eagles. Cooper received a $4 million signing bonus, a fully guaranteed $1 million salary in 2014, and $3 million of fully guaranteed salary in 2015. He can earn an additional $1 million in fully guaranteed salary in 2015 and in 2016 by being on the roster the 5th day of each respective League Year. He can also earn up to $2.5 million in escalators based on performance.

To me what is more interesting about the deal is what this might say about the receiver market. The contract itself is very team friendly. In essence this is a two year $9 million contract where Cooper has to prove he belongs as a secondary target. In terms of annual value Cooper ranks well behind Brian Hartline ($6 million) and Danny Amendola ($5.7 million) the two who seemed to be the standard bearers for the secondary WR’s last year. His guarantees are about what Amendola received.

There is little upside in the contract for Cooper outside of avoiding the uncertainty of free agency. If he develops into a better receiver he will be locked into tier two money for the next five years. If this is the type of contract that the Eagles are offering Jeremy Maclin it would explain why Maclin would prefer taking a prove it type of contract from Philadelphia or another team.

For players such as Golden Tate and Emmanuel Sanders, who are free agents this year, the Cooper contract does little to give confidence that they can move past Hartline in terms of contract value in free agency. Despite the rumored increase in cap room he came towards the lower end of the WR2 marketplace. Odds are that’s a sign of how most teams will be viewing these players when free agency begins.

View Riley Cooper’s Salary Cap Breakdown


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  • a57se

    Cooper is trying to establish himself as a quality secondary target while I think Golden Tate already has. Sanders certainly isn’t at this point in time so Tate>>>>>>Cooper>>Sanders.

    • TheeLidman

      Based on last year alone, how has Tate established himself as more of ‘a quality second target’ than other two? As for career numbers, Tate and Sanders are basically the same player. Tate does give you the added advantage of returning punts, but I don’t see Tate that far in front of these guys. Remember, Rice and Harvin were out much of last season, so Tate was the ‘#1 guy’. When you look at his improvement, year over year, considering the increase in opportunities, I think he’s being overrated a bit. Just look at how he was used in the playoffs: 8 catches for 61 yards, in 3 games. He’s a nice player, but he’s overrated in my book.

      • a57se

        Based omn last year alone? That is dumb you don’t vase things on one year.

        • TheeLidman

          It might be dumb, but it happens all the time: Matt Flynn, Paul Krueger, Danell Ellerbe are recent examples. Jason Wordlis and Austin Howard are going to get paid big this year.

  • TheeLidman you have any idea of how this year’s ‘available’ cap space (league wide) compares with prior years? Obviously, we’d have to do a percentage, in order to make it ‘apples to apples’. Is it me or does it just seem the sheer amount of cap space available, even before taking into consideration the higher than expected raise in the cap, is massive?