As the dust settles from last week's Chip Kelly Eagles purge, new contracts signed by the players who are leaving might help make some sense of Kelly's moves.
The news Sunday from agent Drew Rosenhaus was stunning: to get LeSean McCoy to accept the pending trade to Buffalo, the Bills have agreed to a five-year, $40 million contract with a $26.5 million guarantee. McCoy will make $16 million this season, $13 million of it in a signing bonus. The Eagles' trade for linebacker Kiko Alonso becomes official Tuesday afternoon.
The five-year part of the deal is pretty much meaningless in the short-lifespan NFL, but the guarantees are significant. McCoy had only $1 million guaranteed remaining on his current contract, which ran through 2017. When the offseason began, the widespread assumption was that the Eagles and McCoy might agree on a revision that would lower his $11.950 million cap number this year. But there is no way the team was going to guarantee another $26.5 million to a running back with six years of mileage on his odometer.
McCoy has wanted a pay boost since he led the NFL in rushing in 2013 and set the franchise single-season record. Last offseason, then-GMHowie Roseman's take on this was unequivocal -- the Eagles signed McCoy to a deal that reflected his status as a premier NFL running back. You don't get extra money for doing what the contract envisioned you doing.
So, even though Kelly seems to have traded McCoy on a whim -- the Bills said the talks began and ended within a few minutes last Tuesday -- in the long run, there was a looming difference over money that probably would have forced a split.
Some of Sunday's other news concerns 10-year Eagles guard Todd Herremans, who agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. This isn't a shock, given that Colts GM Ryan Grigson worked for the Eagles when Herremans was drafted and was a big booster. But Herremans had a $4 million base this year with the Eagles and a $5.2 million cap number. A source indicated several weeks ago that Herremans would not be willing to take less money to stay with the Eagles. Yet, he is taking less money to join the Colts, and his cap number will be considerably less.
Here, the Eagles, already concerned about an aging, injury-prone o-line, seem to have gauged the market pretty well. Herremans did not get more money or even the same money elsewhere.
It'll be interesting to see whether defensive end/linebacker Trent Cole and corner Cary Williams do better in their new deals than they would have done here. Cole was willing to take less than the $10 million base he was to get this season, but maybe not a lot less. The Eagles weren't interested in him at anywhere near that number. Williams had an $8.16.668 million cap number this year; there apparently were no talks toward retaining him, but like Cole, he seems to be generating strong free agency buzz. He might end up making as much or more than the $6.5 million base the Eagles were due to pay him.