Eagles taking care of business
The Birds followed yesterday's Jason Peters contract extension with deals that locked in Jason Kelce and Riley Cooper for the foreseeable future. What's next? Eventually, Jeremy Maclin, Donnie Jones.
Eagles taking care of business
One of the things Eagles general manager Howie Roseman talked about Wednesday in the wake of the Jason Peters signing was the team's vision for the future, and how you build and nurture a culture, with your own players, minimizing the need for "arranged marriages" with free agents who might or might not fit in, on and off the field.
That vision grew clearer Thursday when the team announced two more longterm extensions, for center Jason Kelce, now signed through the next seven seasons at a possible $40.1 million, with $13 million guaranteed, a source close to the situation said, and wide receiver Riley Cooper, who could make $25 million over the next five seasons, with $10 million guaranteed, a soruce said.
Other such business is pending, certainly with wideout Jeremy Maclin and punter Donnie Jones, possibly with safety Nate Allen. All of those players are scheduled to become free agents March 11.
At an afternoon news conference, both players talked about how eager they are to spend their careers as Eagles, how excited they are to be a part of Chip Kelly's plans.
"I didn't want to go anywhere else. I wanted to be here," said Cooper, who would have become a free agent March 11. "I love the system. I feel like I fit it. I love the organization. I love Philly. I love the fans, the coaching staff. I felt like this was where I needed to be."
The team released a statement in which Eagles coach Chip Kelly called Cooper "one of the toughest and hardest-working guys in our locker room." He said Cooper had made the most of his opportunity to start last season, finishing third in the league in yards per catch, with Maclin down after ACL surgery, "and I'm excited to watch him build upon his success."
It's unclear how comfortable Cooper would have been moving to a new locker room, where he would have to revisit last summer's "n-word" controversy, in which Cooper was caught on tape confronting a security guard at a Kenny Chesney concert. Cooper made it clear he had no desire whatsoever to test his value on the market.
Kelce is the fulcrum of Kelly's offensive line, a key cog since he arrived as a sixth-round steal in an otherwise disastrous 2011 draft.
Kelce and agent Jason Bernstein were asked about the 7-year commitment; the Eagles' recent past is trewn with players who signed super-long-term deals they became unhappy with after a few years. The upshot seemed to be, this was what Kelce wanted. He said he was a sweatpants and T-shirt guy, with no jewelry, whose biggest priority with the new money is to pay off the mortgage on his parents' house in the Cleveland area.
'I think the longer for me, the better, because I really, truly don't want to play for any other organization," Kelce said. "I'm happy with this city, this team, these coaches. I'm really excited to be here, and I have been since Day 1."
"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."