Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Reasons to like McCoy deal

The Eagles announced Thursday evening that they've crossed another item off their to-do list, signing running back LeSean McCoy to a five-year deal.

Reasons to like McCoy deal

The Eagles and running back LeSean McCoy have agreed to a five-year deal. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
The Eagles and running back LeSean McCoy have agreed to a five-year deal. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles announced Thursday evening that they've crossed another item off their to-do list, signing running back LeSean McCoy to a five-year deal.

Per the Inquirer's Jeff McLane, the contract is worth $45M with $20.7M guaranteed.

There are plenty of reasons to like this deal. Here are some of them:

McCoy is a home run hitter: Much of what the Eagles do offensively still involves hitting on big plays. Through the passing game, that means Michael Vick finding DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin downfield. But McCoy brings a big-play element to the running game. He led the NFL with 14 runs of 20+ yards last season and was also first with 17 rushing touchdowns.

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McCoy stays on the field: According to Pro Football Focus, he played 894 snaps last season, 49 more than any other running back. And keep in mind, McCoy didn't play in the regular-season finale. Part of that had to do with Ronnie Brown's lack of effectiveness and Dion Lewis' lack of experience, but the numbers also speak to McCoy's versatility. He can catch the ball (126 receptions the past two seasons) and has improved on his blocking since his rookie year.

McCoy is elusive: Don't forget that 2011 was the Eagles' first season running Howard Mudd's blocking scheme, and the team was dealing with a shortened offseason. Still, McCoy piled up 1,309 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. The offensive line did a good job, but there were several times when McCoy made them look good. Football Outsiders keeps track of broken tackles, and their numbers show McCoy led the league with 50. He broke a tackle on 15.6 percent of his touches, the fourth-best mark of any running back in the NFL.

McCoy is young: Giving running backs long-term deals can be risky, because usually when they fall, they fall hard. But keep in mind that McCoy doesn't turn 24 until July. While he rarely comes off the field, it's important that the Eagles find a good complement - whether it's Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk or someone else. In the final five games last season, McCoy averaged just 3.4 yards per carry after averaging 5.4 in the first 10.

McCoy can still get better: There are specific areas where McCoy can improve. I've heard some argue that the Eagles need a big back to help with short-yardage situations, but that's not really the case. McCoy's executed well in those spots (will find numbers to back that up in Friday's post). He can still get better in pass protection. And he can still improve as a receiver. McCoy averaged 6.6 yards per catch last season. As a point of reference, Brian Westbrook averaged 8.9 yards per catch in his career.

But overall, this contract has little downside for the Eagles. The theme of the offseason has been keeping their core players (DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole, Todd Herremans) happy, and they should enter training camp without having to answer any questions about contract situations.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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