Eagles Wake-Up Call: Reduced Role For Cooper?

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Let’s get to this morning’s question:

Financially, it doesn’t make any  sense to move on from Riley Cooper this year. His $4 million salary is now fully guaranteed — $3 million of that was already locked in, and the rest became guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year — so the Eagles might as well try to get some kind of bang for their buck.

What we could see is a reduced role for the five-year vet depending in part on how the young core develops.

Sheil recently projected the Eagles’ offensive depth chart and has Cooper as a starting receiver opposite Jordan Matthews on the outside with first-round pick Nelson Agholor manning the slot. I agree that he will most likely start out with the first team when OTAs kick off next Tuesday and could very well remain there when training camp opens this summer, but things might change by opening day. A lot depends on the play of Josh Huff, who was bothered by a shoulder injury early on in his rookie season and never found his footing. He worked on his technique this offseason and apparently arrived at NovaCare “shredded”, and is hoping for a big step forward in Year Two. Any additional snaps this season would mostly be at Cooper’s expense, you would imagine.

Miles Austin will also be competing for playing time. His numbers in Cleveland last year (47 catches, 568 yards, 2 TDs) were comparable to Cooper’s (55 catches, 577 yards, 3 TDS), and he played 436 fewer snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Seyi Ajirotutu, Rasheed Bailey, Devante Davis, John Harris, Jeff Maehl and Quron Pratt are expected to be fighting for spots this summer.

Chip Kelly thought enough of Cooper to reward him with a five-year, $22.5 million deal last offseason, and the coaching staff went to great lengths to defend him when hit with question after question about the former fifth-round pick’s production in 2014. While Cooper blocked well (a necessity in this system, Kelly believes), it’s hard to imagine the head coach walked away satisfied with the overall output he received from No. 14.

An upgrade is needed, and the bet here is that one will be found before long this year.


A look at the Eagles draft picks and how they relate to the SPARQ system.

Sheil takes a shot at projecting the team’s defensive depth chart.


ESPN.com analysts graded each team’s offseason and gave the Eagles a B:

[Louis] Riddick was the harshest grader (C-plus) on the Eagles because he thought the team assumed a great deal of injury risk with Bradford, Murray, Alonso, Matthews and Thurmond. He did like what the Eagles accomplished in the draft.

“It’s just that the entire free-agent class could blow up in one practice,” Riddick said. “Sam could blow his ACL without getting touched. It is all stuff that is very easy to envision.”

The price Philadelphia paid for Murray invited scrutiny, but [Bill] Polian thought the overall moves made at running back would help Bradford greatly.

“They are a running team and so what they did at the position was a net plus despite all the sound and fury,” Polian said. “My only question is, will Bradford be healthy?”

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers some thoughts on the offensive line:

Some critics say the Eagles neglected the OL. How is Sam Bradford supposed to stay upright, let alone play well, if he doesn’t have good blocking?

I don’t think everyone gets the overall situation.

The OL should be fine for 2015. The Eagles return 4 of 5 starters. The team is very comfortable with Allen Barbre taking over at RG. Jason Peters remains one of the better LTs in the league. Jason Kelce is becoming one of the best Centers. Lane Johnson has played very well in his 2 years. Evan Mathis is showing a bit of his age, but remains a very good starting LG. This is a talented group.


A closer look at Sam Bradford‘s knee problems over the past two years.