LeSean McCoy became a rich man on Thursday, signing a five-year extension worth $45 million with $20.765 million guaranteed. That averages out to be just over $1 million of guaranteed money per touchdown McCoy scored in 2011.
Simply put, McCoy got paid because the man is money.
In 2011, he put himself in the elite category by posting 1,309 yards rushing with 17 TDs and another 315 yards and three TDs receiving. No other player in the NFL scored more touchdowns than McCoy last season.
When thinking of the best running backs in the NFL now, McCoy has elevated his status to being mentioned in the same breath as Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster.
To look at it another way, if you're a fantasy football player, McCoy will likely be the second overall pick in most fantasy drafts this year (after Foster and because Peterson is coming off an injury).
Other things to consider about McCoy:
- He played in approximately 82 percent of the team's offensive snaps in 2011.
- He's durable; has not missed any time due to injury.
- He's reliable; only three lost fumbles in 801 touches (equates to one fumble every 267 touches).
- Led the league in broken tackles with 50 in 2011 (per Football Outsiders).
- Seventeen of his 20 TDs in 2011 came from within the red zone.
- Led the league last year with 14 runs of 20 yards or more.
- Accounted for nearly one-third (31 percent) of the Eagles' first downs in 2011.
- Had 84 rushing first downs last season, leading the league (in comparison, Foster was fifth with 58).
Andy Reid knows what he has in McCoy as evidenced by his sitting in on the negotiations to ensure a deal gets done. Reid understands his importance to the offense and certainly doesn't want to take a chance of having his most valuable offensive player (besides Michael Vick) be distracted this year.
Reid also knows that the better McCoy produces, the better off Michael Vick will be. Being able to run the ball effectively means defenses have to respect it and not play “kill the passer” because they don’t think you can (or will) run on them.
And run the Eagles will, or at least, they should. Especially when you consider that McCoy has drawn comparisons to all-time great Barry Sanders last season. In reference to his "cut-on-a-dime" ability and elusiveness, Miami Dolphins DE Jason Taylor stated the following (via Omar Kelly of The Sun-Sentinel):
"You hate to put him in the company of greatness but he's got a lot of Barry Sanders in him."
That's high praise coming from an accomplished and respected veteran NFL player. Even analysts who were calling the Eagles games were starting to compare him to Sanders, consider this from an article written by Sam Donnellon via Philly.com:
"LeSean McCoy would stop in full stride, shift his body a foot or 2, then resume full speed as if someone hit the play button on their Tivo.
"Barry Sanders," an announcer would say..."
And that's just when he's taking hand-offs from Vick. When you add in McCoy’s reliability as a check-down receiver, he is truly an invaluable weapon for the offense.
McCoy is also only 23 years old (will turn 24 in July) so the Eagles now have him locked up through all of his prime years as a player. He is a young, budding star and has his best years are still ahead of him.
He'll be worth every last penny of his new $45 million contract.
McCoy's extension has also culminated a damn near picture-perfect offseason orchestrated brilliantly by the Eagles front office.