So who got the better deal of the two Eagles receivers who were due to hit free agency? As usual, it depends on how you look at it.
Riley Cooper has $10 million guaranteed on a five-year deal with a base value of $22.5 million. That’s an average of $4.5 million per year.
Jeremy Maclin has $3.5 million guaranteed on a one-year deal with a base value of $5.5 million. To get to the full base value, however, Maclin has to be on the 46-man roster each and every week of the 2014 season. (The specifics of the per-game roster bonus aren’t yet known.)
With escalators based on receiving yards and touchdowns, Cooper can max out at $25 million, or $5 million per year. Maclin can get to $6 million.
It would have been a lot easier to compare the two contracts if Maclin had signed a five-year deal. He told reporters after signing the contract that they nearly worked out an agreement with the same term as Cooper’s.
For now, Cooper has acquired more security. Maclin gets more average guaranteed money and a higher annual rate on a much shorter deal. He also has the chance to get to free agency next year, when the salary cap is expected to make another solid jump and when there surely won’t be 50-plus other receivers trying to get paid from the same pot.
Much of it depends on whether Maclin plays well in the wake of the torn ACL that wiped out his 2013 season and opened the door for Cooper to earn his new contract. If he gets off to a fast start in 2014, the Eagles could try again to get him under contract for the long term.