If the Vikings release Adrian Peterson this offseason, a move that many expect to happen, it would leave LeSean McCoy as the only running back in the NFL with an eight-digit cap hit on the books for 2015. McCoy, whose current ’15 cap number is $11.95MM, said today that he’s open to restructuring his contract to lower that number, but he doesn’t want to take a pay cut, writes Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I know how hard it is to keep a team together and I want to be part of this team. But I don’t want to take less money,” McCoy said. “I want to figure a way to make it happen [where] we’re all together.”
McCoy’s comment about keeping everyone together likely refers, at least in part, to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who is eligible for free agency this offseason, and is in line for a substantial raise after a hugely productive 2014 campaign. “I got to pay my boy Mac,” McCoy said, when asked specifically about the effect his situation could have on Maclin.
It would be possible for McCoy to reduce his cap number by a pretty significant sum without taking a pay cut, assuming the Eagles are open to the idea. If the two sides agreed to convert, for example, $6MM of the running back’s $9.75MM base salary for 2015 into a signing bonus, it would take his cap hit from $11.95MM to $7.95MM. The downside for Philadelphia? That would increase McCoy’s cap numbers for 2016 and 2017 by $2MM each, and would add more guaranteed money to the 26-year-old’s deal.
McCoy, a 2009 second-rounder, has racked up over 2,900 rushing yards in Chip Kelly‘s first two seasons in Philadelphia, and wouldn’t be easily replaceable. Still, Kelly and the Eagles showed a year ago when they cut DeSean Jackson that they’re willing to cut ties with productive playmakers if necessary. Off-field factors likely played a role in Jackson’s release, but the move still created a precedent that may make McCoy wary of negotiating too aggressively this winter.