The Eagles continued to lock up their own players to long-term extensions today, signing center Jason Kelce and wide receiver Riley Cooper to seven-year and five-year deals, respectively.
Cooper’s deal is worth $25 million over five years, a league source tells Tim McManus. He’s under contract with the Eagles through 2018. Details on how much guaranteed money is included have not yet been made available.
“Riley is one of the toughest and hardest-working guys in our locker room,” Chip Kelly said in a statement. “We talk a lot about how players have to make the most of their opportunities, and he did just that last year. He used his size, strength and speed to make a lot of big plays for our team and I’m excited to watch him build upon his success.”
Kelce is under contract through 2020. Per McManus, it’s a $37.5 million deal with $13 million guaranteed. Kelce has an average annual salary of $6.25 million, which ranks in the top-five for centers. The contract has a max value of $40.1 million.
“Jason is the epitome of the type of player we want around here, both on and off the field,” Kelly said. “He’s tough, extremely intelligent and is a leader by his actions and by his words. His athleticism is something that really sticks out when you watch him play. There aren’t many centers that can get down the field like he does.”
The 26-year-old is one of the most athletic centers in football and a perfect fit for Kelly’s offense. After suffering a knee injury in 2012, he bounced back with a great season in 2013 and is one of the team’s young leaders.
“You just don’t see many interior linemen with the athleticism that Jason Kelce possesses,” said GM Howie Roseman. “It shows up on film many times where you just see him 10 or 15 yards down the field making blocks. His intelligence, work ethic and pride in his game are just off the charts. He’s the proverbial gym rat and is always at the NovaCare Complex working on his game. This was the first off-season we had to re-sign Jason and we jumped all over the opportunity.”
Kelce was originally a sixth-round pick in 2011, but won the starting job right away as a rookie playing for offensive line coach Howard Mudd.
Cooper, meanwhile, was a non-factor through his first three seasons, but broke out in 2013 with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. His ability to track balls downfield led to several big plays and a 17.8 yards per catch average, good enough for third-best in the league. Cooper was also an outstanding blocker on the perimeter in the run game.
“Riley’s a tough player who can not only go up and catch the football and make big plays, but who also takes a great amount of pride in his ability to block and be physical down the field,” said Roseman. “He made the most of his opportunities last year and we all expect him to build upon that. Riley wants to be an Eagle and expressed that several times to us throughout this process. We were very excited to get this done before the start of free agency.”
Cooper had the ugly incident at the Kenny Chesney concert last summer, but took over the starting job after Jeremy Maclin went down during training camp. He will turn 27 next September.
Much more to come.