(Sports Network) - The bar has been set at alpine heights for LeSean McCoy.
Not that he didn't already do that with his All-Pro performance in 2011.
With the wad of cash the Philadelphia Eagles doled out to their prized running
back, the pressure is now on McCoy to live up to the dream numbers of $45
million with almost $21 million guaranteed.
McCoy and the Eagles are in it for the long haul after the two sides agreed on
a five-year contract extension, a destination the running back envisioned when
he was selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He had one year
remaining on his rookie deal and is one of several "home-grown" players the
Eagles extended this offseason, including DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole and Todd
Herremans. Signing your own players is a major priority, but it doesn't always
happen in the NFL.
"We decided to focus on re-signing our own players and keeping a bulk of the
team intact for now and going into the future," Eagles general manager Howie
Roseman said. "Obviously, LeSean was a big part of that. We felt like it was
really important to get that done and try to get that done quickly, so we were
going to be aggressive about it. He's a part of the family and his style and
his play are so important to the organization and this team."
The same goes for Jackson, who exceeded his modest, yet original contract
before finally signing a long-term deal a few months ago. Jackson, though,
displayed his angst for a new deal throughout last season and his numbers
dropped significantly. The Eagles are hoping he reverts back to his dominant
ways in keeping defenses honest now that he finally got what he wanted.
That scenario could have unfolded for the second straight year had the Eagles
not offered McCoy a new deal this week. The running back position has a short
shelf life and is more important than receiver for reasons to numerous to
characterize, so it was wise to have one of the premier backs in the fold
before ruffling some feathers and causing a disturbance. Jackson admitted
that his brief holdout and attitude about a deal was a bad choice, and was
damaging for negotiations at that time. Jackson and McCoy are both clients of
agent Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus would probably put his life on the line for a
customer and didn't have to in recent deals with the two Philly stars.
Nobody wants to play under a cloud of uncertainty, and McCoy doesn't have to
worry about that anymore. He could pull a Woody Allen and take the money and
run, but that's not his style. McCoy said he is the type of player who wants
to be totally focused on football and all that's left is to bring home the
organization's first Super Bowl title.
"We have one main goal. ... The main goal is to win a championship," said
McCoy, who set the franchise record for rushing and total touchdowns last
season. "I think we're on the same page."
McCoy got some friendly advice from former Eagles running back Brian
Westbrook. Westbrook inked a five-year extension back in November 2005
following a holdout in training camp, and supported McCoy in his quest for
financial stability. Westbrook understands that forcing your hand on head
coach Andy Reid or any member of the Eagles' brass is a poor choice, and he
learned that the hard way before the two sides came to an agreement.
McCoy and Westbrook are similar in many ways for their ability to run between
the tackles, around the ends and catch passes out of the backfield. Both are
beloved players in the City of Brotherly Love as well. McCoy said nothing
could be better than being with the Eagles for the long term and now he's one
of the top paid running backs in the game alongside Adrian Peterson, Chris
Johnson and Steven Jackson. Rosenhaus said the Arian Foster deal in Houston
set the wheels in motion, but what does that mean for other running backs such
as Ray Rice or Matt Forte?
Rice and Forte have identical qualities in that they can both pound the
football and open the passing game. Whether they will get a deal done with
their respective teams any time soon is just a guess even though they are
deserving of big-time cash.
As for McCoy, he now has a clear mind and can focus strictly on improving his
name on the field rather than putting it on the dotted line.
The Sports Network