On Monday, the Eagles released WR Riley Cooper after a six-year career. One that was probably six years too long.
After six years with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team released wide receiver Riley Cooper on Monday, the first day teams can part ways with players who were on the active roster in 2015. The Birds will save $2.9 million against the salary cap by saying good-bye to Cooper, who was scheduled to make $4.5 million next season.
Cooper was drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and didn’t really make an impression under former head coach Andy Reid. In 2013, Cooper was involved in an ugly incident at a concert where he was filmed using a racial slur which went viral and made Cooper the talk of football for all the wrong reasons.
Despite the public wanting the team to release him, new coach Chip Kelly kept Cooper on the roster, made him apologize to the team and take sensitivity training. Maybe because of that or a need to prove himself, Cooper had a breakout season in 2013, one in which he caught 47 passes for 853 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
His reward? A five-year, $22.5 million contract with $8 million in guaranteed money given to him by Kelly in February of 2014. It was a ludicrous contract for a player who, other than one good season, had been unremarkable in every other way.
The 2014 season proved that as Cooper’s numbers nosedived, catching 55 passes but for only 577 yards and 3 touchdowns. And in 2015 it didn’t get any better with QB Sam Bradford running the offense as he saw his playing time cut and caught only 21 passes for 327 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Not exactly the kind of stats that are worth $22.5 million.
When Chip Kelly was fired as Eagles head coach before the last game of the 2015 season, many assumed it was also the end of the road for Cooper. With Howie Roseman back in charge, you just know he is anxious to expel as many of the “Chip Kelly guys” from the NovaCare Complex as fast as possible. Cooper is probably the first of many that will follow of the next few days and weeks.
Honestly, this should have happened years ago. Putting the entire racial slur incident to the side, Cooper was never going to be a top WR in the NFL. His skill set is way to limited and despite his large frame for a receiver, he never seemed capable of using it to his advantage.
When you add in the loathsome incident Copper was involved in at the concert, it should have added up to a one way ticket out of town. Instead, it got him a contract he wasn’t nearly good enough to live up to.
Thanks Chip. Another one we owe you.
Cooper’s prospects in free agency actually aren’t that bad as the crop of receivers available this season are pretty slim. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see Kelly bring Cooper to San Francisco to play with the 49ers.
By cutting Cooper, the eagles are left with Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff as the top members of their receiving corps.
No, I don’t find that encouraging either.