Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper is still most famous for his off-the-field incident during the offseason in which he used the n-word, but Cooper has worked hard to patch up relationships with his teammates and has moved on from the incident. Whether or not you forgive him for what happened definitely isn’t my business, but what is my business is focusing on Cooper’s on-field performance this season. He’s been the breakout player as the No. 2 wide receiver in the Eagles offense that Chip Kelly desired, and Cooper has been playing his best football with second-year QB Nick Foles at the helm. In fact, Cooper has never caught less than three passes in a game with Foles starting and has three 100-yard performances with Foles playing at QB.
According to the National Football Post’s Len Pasquarelli, Riley Cooper sounds like a player who will be a hot name on the free agent market among the “sleepers”, and it will be very interesting to see how much interest Cooper receives and how much money he ends up getting in the end. Cooper is only 26, and he’s averaging 19.1 yards per reception this season with 592 receiving yards and seven touchdowns overall. Those are very good numbers, and he is asserting himself as a potential No. 2 wide receiver in this league. In fact, there are a number of teams who would have themselves a nice upgrade in that slot if Cooper were there No. 2 wideout.
A “personnel man” in comments to the National Football Post called Cooper “an intriguing guy” and spoke about how Cooper has put himself in a position to make some good money next offseason. While Cooper isn’t a great player by any means and isn’t close to being a star performer, he is certainly solid and of starting quality for several teams. It will be interesting to see how he does during the stretch of the regular season, especially since the Eagles are fighting for the NFC East crown and a playoff spot.
It’s interesting to see just how much Cooper has turned things around from where he was in the offseason due to his play on the field, and there’s a reason why Kelly didn’t release him. Many players in Cooper’s position would have been cut without much of a question, but Kelly and the Eagles knew just how important Cooper, who is a good blocker, would be to the offense. I think he’s surpassed expectations, but I also wonder how much teams will factor in his use of the n-word. I also wonder if all the talk about the “locker room culture” has helped Cooper, since one would think that there have been just as egregious uses of the word within the locker room that went without the media noticing it.