Riley Cooper comes a long way in six months

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Six months ago, receiver Riley Cooper’s future in Philadelphia was tenuous at best.  Some wondered whether in the wake of his use of a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert whether any other team would embrace him.

Instead, Cooper took a short break from the Eagles and, after he returned, the issue quickly died.  Then, Cooper’s career came alive.

On the brink of hitting the open market, Cooper has signed a deal worth, per a league source, up to $25 million over five years.  A small amount of that total comes from escalators, so the base value is less than $25 million.

Of the amount, $10 million is guaranteed.  Specifically, Cooper gets a $4 million signing bonus, $4 million in base salary guaranteed for skill, injury, and salary cap ($1 million is fully guaranteed in 2014 and $3 million is fully guaranteed in 2015).  Of his total salary of $4 million in 2015, $1 million is guaranteed for injury only.  Also, $1 million of his 2016 salary is currently guaranteed for injury only.  The injury guarantees convert to a fully guaranteed amounts in March of 2015 and 2016, respectively.

While the deal isn’t a blockbuster, it comes at a time when more than 50 receivers are poised to flood the market.  Other teams were interested in Cooper, but may have had concerns about the incident from 2013 and the issues relating to absorbing Cooper into a new locker room.

In Philly, the locker room already has gotten past the incident, and the team realizes that he can make significant contributions in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Even if the Eagles re-sign receiver Jeremy Maclin, both Maclin and Cooper will get plenty of playing time, given that Kelly uses three wideouts roughly 80 percent of the time.  Cooper’s $5 million average likewise confirms that DeSean Jackson remains far and away the lead dog of the receiving corps, with a salary in 2014 of $10.5 million.