The Eagles announced that they have released Riley Cooper. Today (Monday, February 8th) is the first day that teams can release players per the NFL’s calendar and Cooper has become the league’s first such roster casualty. More moves are sure to follow from teams all around the NFL.
Cooper, 29 in September, was a favorite of former head coach Chip Kelly. The new regime, apparently, didn’t hold him in the same esteem. Cooper’s deal had no remaining guaranteed cash on it from 2016 onward, so there will be no fiscal penalty for Philly.
Roughly two years ago, the Eagles and Cooper reached agreement on a five-year deal worth $25MM overall and $10MM in guaranteed cash. Cooper closed out his rookie deal in style with a breakout season in 2013. After being at the center of a preseason controversy when he used a racial slur, Cooper got positive attention by setting career-highs in receptions (47), receiving yards (835), and receiving touchdowns (8). The $5MM annual average of the deal was not chump change, but that was roughly what he was expected to command had he reached the open market.
In 2014, Cooper recorded a career-high 55 receptions for 577 yards and three scores. This past season, he played a much smaller role in the offense, catching only 21 passes for 327 yards and two scores.
Cooper would have carried a $5.3MM cap hit in 2016 and the Eagles saved $2.9MM against the cap by releasing him.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.