In an era where it’s fashionable to go with a two horse stable, Shady, as he’s been nicknamed, will continue to be the feature back in a very talented offense for the Birds. He and the franchise agreed to a 5 year deal totaling 45 million, with 21 of it guaranteed. This is quite a haul for a guy who ran for 1,300 yards, and racked up a team record 17 rushing touchdowns, but his versatility is more than just the numbers.
The year before he caught nearly 80 passes, something most wide receivers around the league would blush over, much less a guy coming out of the backfield.
There are concerns because his physique reminds most of a slightly taller version of his predecessor, Brian Westbrook, and given Brian’s injury history, some worry that LeSean may too suffer a similar fate.
Such is the doubting philosophy of the stereotypical Philly curmudgeon, but I believe McCoy has taken steps to improve his health, and work on doing the little things needed to be a full time running back in the NFL. He’s bulked up his frame to withstand the constant battering he’ll face from carrying the ball 20 times a game without compromising his “Cut-On-A-Dime” technique. The biggest area of necessity for him is the mindset: This guy WANTS the ball. In most of today’s two back depth charts, some of those guys have a similar trait, but only a special few are able to transcend it, and this is where Shady has shone through.
With the signings of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin seemingly on the rebound from an up and down season that started with health issues in training camp, this offense has the makings of something to be reckoned with. However, as pass happy as Andy Reid is, McCoy’s signing is the crown jewel, for he’ll have to rely on the ground game finally to open up seams for the talent sprinting downfield. It’s LeSean’s ball to carry, and even Michael Vick’s legs aren’t as important to the Eagles Super Bowl dreams.
What is lost in all this is the impact it will have on a few other special athletes around the league in the backfield. Matt Forte, the heart and soul of the Chicago Bears offense, has to be glossing over this and salivating for an equally heavy payday. Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens enigmatic whirlwind, is sure to command something hefty to remain in Purple & Black. McCoy’s signing has helped to stave of the demise of the one horse show, and will serve to fatten the wallets of the few running backs who deserve equal recognition.
These players, along with ultra talented workhorse Maurice Jones-Drew, are around the same age, having all been drafted a few years earlier than McCoy. They have proven track records, and are dynamic in multiple facets of the game. All are a few years away from 30, the dreaded age for running backs with mileage, so it’s easy to see why they will ask for much the same for their future earnings. The Eagles and LeSean have set the table for themselves, the question is how many other plan to join the table when it comes to their fair share from their respective teams?