Three Eagles Earn Spots on Grantland’s ‘All-Bad-Contract’ Team


The Eagles are well represented on a list you don’t want to be well represented on.

Bill Barnwell of recently compiled Grantland’s NFL “All-Bad-Contract” Team. He put together a roster of players from around the league who have some of the worst contracts based off of a variety of factors.

The four components used to put together their list were “The Marginal Talent”, “Paying for the Outlier”, “System Guy Out of a System”, and “Ever Fallen in Love With a Player You Shouldn’t Have?”. Undoubtedly, a host of players automatically comes to mind as Philadelphia fans and teams alike have been haunted by some pretty dreadful contracts.

Grantland unfortunately named three Philadelphia Eagles to their team:  DeMarco Murray, Riley Cooper, and Byron Maxwell.

Dec 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-27. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Demarco Murray in the “Paying for the Outlier” category which is actually pretty accurate. As the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014, he played all 16 games for the Cowboys and racked up 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns in the process. It’s hard for any running back to repeat that kind of performance, especially a back with a power-driven style like Murray. Not to mention he was running behind arguably the best offensive line in the league. Grantland is pretty spot on in that Murray is unlikely to repeat such an impressive season, especially since he is expected to split the carries with Ryan Mathews.

It seems that the Eagles did indeed “Pay for the Outlier” but still managed to improve at the running back position. I still believe that Murray will fit the fast-paced nature of Chip Kelly‘s run-heavy offense better than LeSean McCoy. After trading away such an elite running back, it was only right that (by over-paying or not) the Eagles signed a back just as talented as McCoy to fill the void he left. The Eagles did overpay for production that will probably not be matched, but did so for a very good reason.

Byron Maxwell is another new addition to the team this off-season. Grantland’s reasoning for Maxwell making the team was that he is a “System Guy Out of System”, which is too vague. The system the Eagles run fits him, which is why they coveted him. The players playing in the system in Philadelphia aren’t as good as they were in the system in Seattle. Maxwell, a great corner in his own right, was surrounded by the likes of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and gained much acclaim due to the success of the secondary.

While the Eagles overpaid Maxwell with a six-year $63 million deal, they really had no choice with the egregious play from mediocre corners and safeties in 2014. Maxwell is still a top corner in the league, will tremendously improve the Eagles defense and will most likely be worth the large check that Jeffrey Lurie wrote out.

Jun 17, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper (14) makes a catch during minicamp at The NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I found Riley Cooper to be the most intriguing player on the list. Grantland believed that Cooper was one of the rare players who could possibly fit all four of the categories they used. I have to disagree with that statement as Cooper seems to primarily fit only two or three (three at most) of the criteria. A case can definitely be made that he fits the “Paying for the Outlier” mold as he was probably overcompensated with a $25 million deal for his solid 2013 season. He does seem to be a “Marginal Talent” as he is primarily a role player on the team and will most likely not be a top target this season. He does not strike me as a system guy and he does indeed have value on the roster as he is an extremely underrated blocker which often goes unnoticed.

Grantland was pretty accurate in their evaluations of these three contracts, but looked past the context of each of the signings with Murray and Maxwell filling significant voids left on the team. These large, player-friendly contracts  were in reality very necessary to help improve ailing parts of the team to the point where they can help lead the Eagles to a playoff birth. Regardless of whether the Eagles overpaid or not, they added some much needed talent to a roster that was lacking some key, impact players.

Next: Eagles Roundtable: Which Player Will Disappoint in 2015?

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