The Philadelphia Eagles are going to have some salary cap casualties. The team simply cannot afford to bring everyone back plus sign new talent. The new head coach is going to have some key decisions to make in the offseason as a number of players remain on the bubble. One of those players is Riley Cooper who was a favorite of Chip Kelly, but has failed to put forth the numbers to show he can stick around.
The nail on the head for Cooper was likely the zero catches he recorded in the season finale for the Eagles. The receiver broke out in 2013 with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. That prompted an overblown four-year, $22.5 million contract extension. Since then, his numbers have dropped off dramatically and this year he only had 21 catches for 327 yards and two touchdowns. Next season he is set to earn $4.5 million which is almost all non-guaranteed. With the Eagles only set to eat $2.4 million if they release him, Cooper is likely out. According to the receiver, he has Kelly to thank for everything.
"It wasn't, I think, Chip," Cooper said, via Philly.com. "Chip happened to be the coach after Andy got fired and Maclin got hurt, and then so I had to play in my fourth year. There was no choice. There was no other receivers. . . . And I appreciate Chip letting me go out there and showcase what I can do, and what I can still do."
Jeff McLane of Philly.com is reporting that Cooper is likely out, but the Eagles will still need some offensive firepower. Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor proved they can step up while Josh Huff fell off the map. Zach Ertz became the reliable tight end, but that trio of receivers will not be enough. However, they are still good enough to make Cooper replaceable. Ertz is expecting change.
"I think there's going to be," Ertz said, via Philly.com. "Based on Chip's first year to now, there's 11 guys on the roster. So in that perspective, there's going to be a huge turnover. The new coaching staff is going to want [its own] guys. I don't know if guys really realize that now."
Darren Sproles is another player that is skating on thin ice, but has proven he is hard to replace. Sproles is the best threat on special teams in the league while he can play a critical role on offense if used correctly. The Eagles failed to let Sproles do what he does best and that hurt his numbers and place on the team. The new head coach will have to consider if the three-headed rushing attack is worth keeping around.