Riley Cooper is playing on borrowed time. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver has not had the easiest of seasons and now he must be forced to think about his pending future. Cooper is playing out the final few games of his contract and after a drama-filled offseason, the market might not be too kind for him.
Cooper's season took a turn when Nick Foles began starting at quarterback. The wide receiver suddenly exploded, putting up huge numbers. He had three touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders and then followed that up with two more scores the next week against Green Bay. He proved to have incredible chemistry with Foles, something that could save his future with the Eagles.
Cooper admits he wants nothing more than to return to Philadelphia. He is finished up his rookie contract worth $2 million after getting drafted in the fifth round back in 2010. He started the year as the No. 4 receiver, but when Jeremy Maclin went down with a knee injury, he was pumped up and responded well.
"I want to be back here," Cooper said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Everyone around here knows that I love the scheme. I think I fit in it well with the bubble screens and the stuff that we do with blocking and being a bigger guy and a bigger target."
Cooper's stock has spiked this season. In his first three years with the team, Cooper put up 679 yards total. This season alone he has 714 yards. He now ranks eighth among NFL receivers this season putting up an average of 19.3 yards per game. He is hopeful to be a long-term piece of Chip Kelly's offense, but there are other factors that will play into that.
Maclin's contract is also expiring. His resume is more impressive than Cooper's, but in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, Cooper wins out. Maclin has proven to be injury prone since getting drafted back in 2009. The receiver has missed 21 games over the five seasons and the torn ACL is just another on the list.
"You never want to see someone go down and Jeremy is one of my best friends," Cooper said. "But when he went down someone had to step up and help this football team, and I kind of took it upon myself - 'How about you be the one?' "
DeSean Jackson just signed a five-year, $47 million deal back in 2012. That could play into whether or not Cooper, Maclin or both wide receivers are brought back for the future. Cooper has certainly built a case for sticking around, but that remains to be seen.