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McCoy Deal A Strong 2012 Move

A few hours later the Eagles made the official announcement: LeSean McCoy signed a five-year contract extension through the 2017 season and everyone is happy, happy, happy.

It's a great deal for both sides, and another wonderful move in this 2012 offseason. The Eagles and McCoy's people were talking for a long time, with both parties intent on making the business side of the equation an issue to resolve long before the season began.

The numbers are impressive -- a reported 5-year deal worth $45 million, including nearly $21 million in guaranteed dollars. For a 23-year-old running back coming off a 2011 Pro Bowl season, it's the deal of his career.

A second-round draft pick in 2009, McCoy's rise to stardom has been steady and, yes, spectacular. He gained 1,309 yards on the ground last year and totaled 1,624 from the line of scrimmage. His 20 total touchdowns and 17 touchdowns rushing led the league and established an Eagles franchise record. McCoy also led the league with 102 first downs and 48 rushes of 10-plus yards in his breakout season.

Of course, we could see it coming. McCoy is entering the prime of his career, and the Eagles have themselves one of the best backs in the league, maybe the most versatile, and a player who, with some luck, will go down as one of the best running backs in franchise history.

"He does everything well," said head coach Andy Reid. "He loves the game of football, he works at it and you can see the results."

Was the contract ever an issue? Signing running backs to long-term deals has been an obstacle in several cities, but not with the Eagles. Armed with some flexibility within the salary cap, the Eagles made McCoy a priority once the draft was over and they could sit down face to face with McCoy and Rosenhaus and hammer out a deal.

What does it mean for the Eagles? It gives them great security with McCoy in the fold for five years, adding to the contract extensions signed in the offseason by wide receiver DeSean Jackson, offensive lineman Todd Herremans and defensive end Trent Cole. The Eagles have a superb core of talented players under contract for years to come, and now they can move on to other players on the roster they might want to extend in the coming months.

Still, the Eagles have some room within the salary cap should they decide to add to the roster from the outside. At this point in time, that doesn't appear to be the direction the Eagles are going to take, but you never know.

It's just that it feels good to know that here we are in mid-May and the Eagles have all of their major contract issues over and done with -- other than the unsigned status of draft picks Fletcher Cox and Nick Foles -- and we're still a full two months and change away from the start of training camp.

The Eagles plan to lean on McCoy again in 2012, but perhaps not quite as much. He had 321 combined touches in 2011, fourth-most in the league. Look for the Eagles to give Dion Lewis a couple of more opportunities just to keep McCoy fresh throughout what the team hopes is a long, successful 2012 campaign.

McCoy's ceiling is fairly unlimited, what with his elusiveness, his commitment to the game and his age. He makes defenders miss, so he doesn't absorb big hits. McCoy has been remarkably durable -- knocking on wood here -- not only in his three Eagles seasons but in two workhorse years with the University of Pittsburgh before that. Once a player who appeared to carry the ball too loose, McCoy lost just one fumble last season on the way to the first of what should be many Pro Bowls.

In an Eagles galaxy that includes Steve Van Buren (1940s and 1950s), Wilbert Montgomery (1970s and 1980s), Brian Westbrook (2000s) and then Duce Staley and Ricky Watters in the 1990s and, for Staley, the early 2000s, McCoy's star is shining bright. He has more rushing yards and more total yards from the line of scrimmage in his first three seasons than any former Eagle, and it really isn't that close. The Eagles think they will line up a tremendous offensive line this season.

How many yards can McCoy gain?

His success is measured in more than rushing yards. He is the go-to player in the red zone and the single player who defenses strategize to stop. McCoy is the player who makes the offense go, along with the many talents of quarterback Michael Vick, wide receivers Jackson and Maclin and tight end Brent Celek. It is a great group of skill positions players that has a chance to be together for a long, long time.

So getting McCoy done is simply great news, another big step for the Eagles in this offseason to cherish.

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