Even though LeSean McCoy's five-year contract extension was consummated on Thursday, the cloak-and-dagger negotiations have taken place for quite some time.
McCoy's agent Drew Rosenhaus said that he met with head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman for breakfast at the NFL Scouting Combine back in February. Rosenhaus has been in communication with the Eagles three or four times a week since. Rosenhaus has met not only with Reid and Roseman, but president Joe Banner and Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie.
Since March, the Eagles have negotiated three pivotal long-term contracts with Rosenhaus. First, wide receiver DeSean Jackson inked a five-year deal instead of playing out a one-year franchise tender. Three days later, guard Evan Mathis agreed to terms on a five-year deal as a free agent despite serious competition from the Baltimore Ravens. Now, McCoy's deal is done before the All-Pro running back starts what would have been the final year of his rookie contract.
Rosenhaus said that there was no official deadline to get a deal done, but it's not a coincidence the deal was completed prior to the start of Organized Team Activities on Tuesday.
"Guys get hurt on and off the field and when you're in a negotiation like this and you've got that much money on the line and you're about to go to OTAs you do want to get it resolved," Rosenhaus said.
How was the deal able to get done? Roseman handled what Rosenhaus called the "meat-and-potatoes" of the negotiations
"Howie is a straight-shooter," Rosenhaus said. "He's aggressive. He wants to win. He's a pleasant guy to deal with. He's very honest and I like doing business with him."
There was a "presence" in the face-to-face meetings, however, that wasn't a prevalent as in prior negotiations between the two sides.
"I think the reason that this deal got done was the fact that Andy Reid really wanted to see LeSean stay with the Eagles," said Rosenhaus, who had never seen Reid that involved in the process. "I think Coach Reid really was the difference.
"He motivated both sides. He was very instrumental in this process."
The template for the deal was the one running back Arian Foster signed with the Houston Texans in March. McCoy and Foster both entered the league in 2009 and are two of the elite running backs in the NFL. Foster was an undrafted player who completed his three-year rookie contract and did not have a contract for 2012.
Rosenhaus said McCoy had two factors working in his favor. First, McCoy is still only 23 years old. He's younger than some more recent draft picks including this year's second-round pick Vinny Curry. Second, the Eagles were aggressive in letting Rosenhaus know they wanted to get a deal done.
"To me, the Eagles are one of the more aggressive ballclubs in terms of keeping their players and guys want to stay here," Rosenhaus said. "It's a great city. It's a perennial winner. And guys enjoy playing for the Eagles organization."
Rosenhaus admitted that he was thankful the Eagles did not want to simply let McCoy play out his rookie year and then consider their options.
"That was a situation we were looking to avoid," Rosenhaus said.
Since a contentious negotiation with the Eagles while representing wide receiver Terrell Owens back in 2005, Rosenhaus has dealt with the stigma that the Eagles would not do business with him. It nearly cost him McCoy, who fired and rehired Rosenhaus multiple times last season. But for an agent and a team to pull off three lucrative deals in the span of 64 days, there has to be a good, strong working relationship.
"The Eagles regime went out of their way to let our clients know that we had a professional relationship with them," Rosenhaus said. "We thank the Eagles for that."
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