Guessing What Kind of Contract LeSean McCoy Will Get

Guessing What Kind of Contract LeSean McCoy Will Get

The good news is everybody seems confident it's going to happen, including Andy Reid -- and he would know. The bad news is it's going to be expensive.

The Eagles and LeSean McCoy are talking contract extension, actually have been for awhile, and a holdout sounds unlikely for now. The front office has been on a mission to get their own players under contract all offseason long, and Shady is a star in every sense of the word, so there appear to be few hangups. The only question left to answer here is, "How much?" We crunch the numbers after the jump.

I took the liberty of updating a list of the highest paid running backs in the NFL courtesy RotoWorld, which seems like a reasonable starting point.

1. Adrian Peterson -- 7 years, 96 million. 36 million guaranteed (13.7apy).
2. Darren McFadden -- 6 years, 60 million. 26 million guaranteed (10apy).
3. Chris Johnson -- 6 years, 55 million. 30 million guaranteed (9.17apy).
4. Arian Foster -- 5 years, 43.5 million. 20.75 million guaranteed (8.7apy).
5. DeAngelo Williams -- 5 years, 43 million. 21 million guaranteed (8.6apy).
6. Marshawn Lynch -- 4 years, 31 million. 18 million guaranteed (7.77apy),
*7. Matt Forte -- 1 year, 7.7 million. 7.7 million guaranteed (7.7apy).
   Ray Rice -- 1 year, 7.7 million. 7.7 million guaranteed (7.7apy).
9. Steven Jackson -- 6 years, 44.8 million. 20.5 million guaranteed (7.47apy).
10. Frank Gore -- 4 years, 25.9 million. 13.5 million guaranteed (6.48apy).

* Neither Forte or Rice are presently under contract. Their numbers reflect the franchise tag tender. Judging from the current climate, both figure to remain on this list whenever they sign.

We'll go ahead and state the obvious: McCoy won't see AP numbers. That contract, outlandish as it is, reflects Peterson's status as a seventh overall pick in the '07 Draft, a freak athlete, and simply the best back in football over the past five years. In today's NFL, it's hard to imagine the next time a runner will ever earn more.

Unlike Peterson, McFadden's contract is only as enormous as it is as a result of where he was drafted, fourth overall in '08 -- before a rookie wage scale was in place. He has been neither healthy nor consistent, and though he has all the talent in the world, our sense is he would not command $10 million per on the open market if he were available today.

Somewhere between third and fifth on this list is where we might begin to see signs of the sweet spot, in particular with CJ2K and Foster. Besides AP, they are two of the highest paid and most recently re-signed backs on the list. Not coincidentally, they each led the league in rushing and yards from scrimmage for one season, in consecutive years in fact -- '09 and '10.

Does McCoy belong in their company? Johnson's '09 campaign was one for the books, becoming just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in one season. That potential was the basis for the offer he eventually received, and as good as McCoy is, he hasn't accomplished anything quite like that.

Arian Foster draws a better comparison to Shady of the two. The Texans just extended their All-Pro back in March, so there's no need to account for inflation. It's all about whether McCoy is on the same level.

McCoy vs. Foster
Statistically speaking, Foster appears to hold the upper hand. Over the past two seasons, he's racked up 4,061 yards from scrimmage and 30 touchdowns to McCoy's 3,296 and 29. Foster has also been a far more dangerous receiving threat, averaging 10.3 yards per catch to 7.2. However, Foster accumulated his totals yardage via many more touches -- 724 to 606.

It's not all about the numbers, either. As Blogging the bEast brought attention to on Tuesday, McCoy may have been more valuable to his team than any other back in the league in 2011, playing significantly more snaps than any other. Only Ray Rice was within 100 snaps, and Foster wasn't even within 200. Whether McCoy can sustain that type of workload or not is a question for another day. While the numbers suggest Foster is better, based on his role in the offense alone, McCoy has a strong case for being paid equally.

Further complicating the matter is DeAngelo Williams, who somehow convinced the Panthers to pay him $43 million over five years last -- practically the exact same as Foster. Surely McCoy deserves to be paid as well as the 29-year-old Williams, whose only season in the top 10 of yards from scrimmage and rushing touchdowns came in 2008, no?

Shady holds one final advantage over Foster, that being he is two years younger. Maybe he can get an extra year based on that, though if he finished out the contract, that would take him right up to 30, which is a bad time to for a runner to negotiate a new contract. Any way you slice it though, it looks like McCoy could be heading for somewhere just south of $9 million over no fewer than five years with a guarantee close to or in excess of $20 million until negotiations are final.

In 1st game post-Ersan Ilyasova, Dario Saric shines as Sixers' starting PF

In 1st game post-Ersan Ilyasova, Dario Saric shines as Sixers' starting PF

When Ersan Ilyasova was traded to the Hawks on Wednesday, it became Dario Saric's time to shine.

And shine he did in the Sixers' 120-112 win over the Wizards Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. In the first game coming off the All-Star break, Saric got the starting nod at power forward. He certainly looked the part, posting 20 points (10 of 19 from the field), 11 rebounds and four assists.

Saric, now the only true four on the roster, was proud of his team's performance against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

"We have a lot of veterans who can share the ball and that's how you're supposed to play," Saric said. "For me I'm not surprised if we [beat the third-best team] in the East, but I believe these guys can play very good basketball."

Saric was excellent in the starting role, but his exceptional play dates back before the All-Star break. Including Friday, he's averaged 20.5 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists over his last six games. The Sixers are 4-2 in that span.

Head coach Brett Brown is seeing what he expected to see from the Croatian rookie.

"He's a professional basketball player," Brown said. "He has been that for a while. His love of the game, his passion for the game is contagious. It's a thing that we loved maybe more than anything about him when we did the deal with Orlando, knowing however many years ago with the trade with Elfrid Payton and Saric. That was a calculated move."

Saric played almost 33 minutes Friday night. So what did Brown do to give Saric a breather? He sent out Robert Covington.

Covington has played the position most of his life but has spent his entire Sixers career on the wing. In a time of need, he stepped up for a team still adjusting to roster changes.

The 6-foot-8 Covington held his own against the likes of Philly native Markieff Morris. It didn't seem to faze his offensive game, either. Covington scored 25 points on 9 of 14 from the field (5 of 9 from three). He also added 11 rebounds and three assists.

Covington has also been a catalyst for the Sixers during their recent success. He's averaging 17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 steals in his last six. He's also shot a ridiculous 46 percent from three (19 of 41) in that span.

"We can only control what we're able to control on the court," Covington said. "Everything outside of what they do in management doesn't include us. We can only focus on what we can control on the court, and that's what our main focus was on these last few days."

Saric continues to show that he was worth wait while Covington continues to prove that he's a keeper.

They've certainly had different paths. Saric was a lottery pick and regarded as one the top young players in Europe. Covington went undrafted out of Tennessee State and spent the 2013-14 primarily with the Rockets' D-League affiliate.

Bryan Colangelo has identified Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as the team's "transformational players." That's likely true, but every NBA team needs guys like Saric and Covington to complement their stars.

Covington is impressed with the progress of Saric in his rookie season.

"Dario's a very special player," Covington said. "He's able to do so much on the court. Tonight, you saw every aspect of his game. He'll guard, defending, rebounding and making plays on the offensive game. That's what Dario does. Now that he's going to play more in the starting lineup, it's really going to help him."

Saric may be the frontrunner to take home the Rookie of the Month for February. He's second only to Joel Embiid in double-doubles (seven) and 20-point games (six) among rookies. Whether it's Saric or Embiid, it appears the Rookie of the Year will be a Sixer.

His promotion to the starting lineup and wins against teams like the Wizards should only help Saric's cause.

"Maybe you see [me start consistently], maybe not," Saric said. "The game first time here I try to find myself. I got a couple rebounds, but still I try to find myself with the new role. I've tried to move around, catch the rhythm of the game, that's the most important thing in basketball."

He appeared to find himself just fine Friday night.

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

PITTSBURGH -- For Flyers coach Dave Hakstol and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, tonight’s Stadium Series game between the Flyers and Penguins brings back memories.
 
Hakstol coached North Dakota in an outdoor hockey in college, while Gostisbehere participated in one as a freshman at Union College.
 
For Hakstol, however, this whole idea of outdoor hockey began when he was growing up in central Alberta in the small town of Drayton Valley.
 
“I think everybody’s got great memories of growing up outdoors,” Hakstol said. “We had a back creek that we could shovel off. I’m sure everybody could sit back and tell you stories of playing on the outdoor rinks.
 
“For me, most recently, I’ve got two kids growing up playing on outdoor rinks, backyard rinks. It’s pretty cool. It takes you right back to the heart of the game.”
 
Hakstol’s outdoor coaching experience came during a game between Nebraska-Omaha and his North Dakota squad in 2013 at the “Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice.”
 
“I don’t know how to describe it,” Hakstol said of the event. “It’s just a different feel. It’s an ideal scenario.”
 
He said while tonight's game is special, it’s still about the points, first and foremost.
 
“You are cognizant of everything that surrounds the event and the game,” Hakstol said. “Yet for us, it’s two points. We’re fighting for every point here. That is going to paramount.”

Gostisbehere played at Fenway Park in 2012 for Union in a game against Harvard. That night, Union won, 2-0, to become the first ECAC club to ever win outdoors.
 
“I played at Fenway Park against Harvard and it was fun,” Gostisbehere said. “That was my freshman year and the only one I ever played in.
 
“Good crowd. It wasn’t packed obviously, but it was a night game. The ice was really good. It was really cold, too. It was pretty cool.”
 
As warm as it was Friday here -- a historic 78 degrees -- temperatures will begin in the 40s tonight at Heinz Field and then drop. It rained this morning but has since ceased.
 
“The biggest thing for me was to take a second, look around,” Gostisbehere said, admitting he failed to do that in college and won’t make that mistake again.
 
“Just cherish it a little bit. You are so focused on the game, it’s tough. That was biggest thing for me. It was such a blur. Just being in college and having the opportunity to play at Fenway Park was pretty awesome.”

This will the Flyers first-ever outdoor affair in Pittsburgh.
 
“It’s pretty exciting and I’m glad to be part of it,” Gostisbehere said.