Commentary

McCoy deal will impact RB market

His contract extension should affect negotiations for Rice, Forte

Originally Published: May 21, 2012
By Ashley Fox | ESPN.com

As Andrew Luck wraps up his college career at Stanford and Peyton Manning takes the field for the Broncos' organized team activities, here are a few issues from around the NFL:

The Eagles continued their offseason quest of locking up their own talent. LeSean McCoy was the latest, and probably last, major re-signing for the Eagles, who last week gave the running back a five-year, $45 million extension with $20.765 million guaranteed. It was a huge payday for the 23-year-old McCoy, who last season accounted for 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,309 yards.

The move also set the market for young running backs looking for an extension. Of the three remaining marquee backs seeking an extension -- Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew, Chicago's Matt Forte and Baltimore's Ray Rice -- Rice's numbers and impact on the Ravens most closely resemble those of McCoy. Looking at the past two seasons, McCoy had 480 carries for 2,389 yards and 24 touchdowns, with 126 catches for 907 yards and five touchdowns. Playing in two more games, Rice had 598 carries for 2,584 yards and 17 touchdowns, with 139 catches for 1,260 yards and four touchdowns.

McCoy will turn 24 in July. Rice is 25. Forte is 26 and over the past two seasons played in 28 games, with 440 rushes for 2,066 yards and nine touchdowns, with 103 catches for 1,037 yards and four touchdowns. Jones-Drew is 27, has six seasons of wear and tear and has two years left on his contract. In 30 games over the past two seasons, Jones-Drew has 642 carries for 2,930 yards and 13 touchdowns, with 77 catches for 691 yards and five touchdowns.

The Eagles locked up McCoy because he is young, versatile, reliable with the football and a dynamic playmaker. Rice is also young, versatile, reliable with the football and a dynamic playmaker, which is why the Ravens should lock him up.

Jonathan Vilma smacked down Roger Goodell, and players across the league rejoiced. It really doesn't matter if Vilma is successful in his defamation lawsuit against the NFL commissioner, whom Vilma accuses of ruining his reputation with his yearlong suspension in the New Orleans Saints bounty case. Vilma solidified his status as a rock star among his peers.

Vilma looked at Goodell and basically said what players across the league have felt for years: You've overstepped your bounds. This isn't fair. And if you are going to accuse me of something, prove it.

This suit isn't about money. It's about information. It's about Goodell having to prove the accusations against the Saints, Vilma, Will Smith and former Saints defensive players Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove. This is about not trusting Goodell's word. This is about making the commissioner put the boxes of evidence he has on the table.

[+] EnlargeWes Welker
AP Photo/Charles KrupaWes Welker led the NFL with 122 catches in 2012, his fourth season with more than 100 receptions.
Wes Welker hurt his negotiating position but probably not his standing with the Patriots. On Friday, The Boston Globe reported that Welker's decision to recently speak about his stalled contract talks -- he signed the franchise tender last week and then told The Boston Herald that New England subsequently had reduced its offer on an extension -- had not gone over well with the Patriots' front office.

Teams never like players to vent publicly about their contracts, and the Patriots certainly are no exception. Welker has wanted a long-term deal but said he decided to take a "leap of faith," as he called it on Twitter, and signed the tender, which will pay him a guaranteed $9.5 million for the 2012 season.

Welker turned 31 years old on May 1. In five seasons in New England, he has had more than 100 catches four times. The man is a valuable asset to Tom Brady. He is a security blanket. If Welker goes out and has another 100-catch season -- he led the NFL with 122 catches and was second with 1,569 yards in 2011 -- are the Patriots really going to let him go because of a few things he said in May?

The answer is simple: No.

Welker recognizes that. On Friday, he tweeted: "Don't believe the hype. Everyone wants to make a story. Control what u can control and move on." Well said.

Darrelle Revis knows of what he speaks. Real recognizes real, and there is no better leader in the New York Jets' locker room than Revis. His voice carries weight. He has the game to back it up.

So it means something that Revis last week lauded Tim Tebow for his leadership. It means something that Revis gushed about the Jets' backup quarterback. He didn't gush about Mark Sanchez. He gushed about Tebow, the backup who has been a starter in the NFL, who has won a playoff game, who has proved he is clutch, who everyone assumes eventually will be the Jets' starter, who isn't going to be just a token gimmick.

Here's what Revis said about Tebow, courtesy of the New York Daily News: "He's a born leader. He really is. Very few athletes have the gift that he has. He tries to lead by example all the time, and he tries to be positive, which is awesome. I think that results [in] his success on the field. He came in with Denver and did unbelievable. And now he's with us. We're happy. We're excited for him. We're happy [that] he'll bring his leadership qualities to this team."

Revis loves Tebow. Real recognizes real. Sanchez is in trouble.

It's all about the ring. Last week, the New York Giants received their world championship rings at the flagship Tiffany and Co. store in New York City. They are monstrous, as these things frequently are, with diamonds and sapphires and a cool nod to the Giants' improbable run to become Super Bowl champs with the word "Finish" inscribed inside.

A few days later, another Giants world championship ring was put on the auction block. Lawrence Taylor's ring fetched $230,401. Good for Taylor's son, who according to Fox Sports.com put his dad's ring on the block. Bad for Taylor.

It's another sad chapter in the sad story of LT. Great player. Troubled soul.