By Lewis Gould
After last week’s explosive shake-up in the Eagles’ front office that left Howie Boy Roseman without a chair in the football department, it is now up to Supreme Leader Chip Kelly to pick up the pieces and improve the team.
And, since last March’s shocking cutting of DeSean Jackson, the Birds’ highly paid wide receiver who burned them in Washington, the question must be asked:
Will running back LeSean McCoy suffer the same fate?
Kelly, Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie have to come to a decision on Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy.
McCoy, who finished third in the league in rushing a year after leading the league in rushing and has had his two most productive seasons in Kelly’s offense, is due to earn $10 million in the fourth year of a six-year, $46.6 million deal he signed in 2012.
“That’s a lot of money, but he’s still very productive for them,” an executive in personnel for another NFC team told NJ.com’s Mark Eckel. “You ask me, he’s still the best back in the league. But I don’t know what their cap deal is and how they want to spend it.”
The Eagles have a reported $15 million of cap space, if they do nothing with McCoy. If they cut him, or trade him, they would absorb a hit of $2.3 million, but would save the $10 million he is owed for salary cap gain of $7.7. They could also re-work his deal, which includes a base salary of $7.25 million in 2016 and $7.85 million in 2017.
McCoy, at the end of the season, said he would not be totally opposed to a restructure of his current contract.
One of the problems the Eagles face is coming up with something fair for McCoy. The only back in the league scheduled to earn more than him in 2015 is Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson ($12.75 million), who missed all of last season with a suspension.
Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is scheduled to earn $7 million in the final year of a four-year, $31 million deal. Chicago’s Matt Forte is scheduled to earn $7.7 million in the final year of a four-year, $30 million deal. And Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles is scheduled to earn $4.7 million in the second year of a four-year, $28 million deal.
McCoy, who will be 27 in July, is a year younger than Charles and two years younger than Lynch and Forte.
The two backs who rushed for more yards than him in 2014 were Dallas’ DeMarco Murray, who will be a free agent in March; and Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, who is in the second year of his rookie contract.
“If they let him go, what do they have?” the executive asked. “(Darren) Sproles isn’t a full-time guy, nice player, but not a full-time guy. The rest of them are just guys.”
If the Eagles traded or released the franchise’s all-time leading rusher just a year after releasing wide receiver Jackson it would take a serious PR hit, but things such as that don’t really bother Kelly.
Sproles, who will earn $3 million next season, was a nice addition to the offense and the special teams, but is more of a change of pace type who the team used in a variety of ways but never as a the main back.
Chris Polk, who will be a restricted free agent, will likely get a tender from the team to return. The coaches love Polk’s hard-driving style and he became both a short-yardge and goal-line option by the end of the season. What they don’t like is his durability concerns. He missed time in camp, preseason and again during the season with a hamstring issue.