Stretching the Field: Eagles put major investment in McCoy

The bar has been set at alpine heights for LeSean McCoy.

Not that he didn't already do that with his All-Pro performance in 2011.

With the wad of cash the Philadelphia Eagles doled out to their prized running back, the pressure is now on McCoy to live up to the dream numbers of $45 million with almost $21 million guaranteed.

McCoy and the Eagles are in it for the long haul after the two sides agreed on a five-year contract extension, a destination the running back envisioned when he was selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He had one year remaining on his rookie deal and is one of several "home-grown" players the Eagles extended this offseason, including DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole and Todd Herremans. Signing your own players is a major priority, but it doesn't always happen in the NFL.

"We decided to focus on re-signing our own players and keeping a bulk of the team intact for now and going into the future," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "Obviously, LeSean was a big part of that. We felt like it was really important to get that done and try to get that done quickly, so we were going to be aggressive about it. He's a part of the family and his style and his play are so important to the organization and this team."

The same goes for Jackson, who exceeded his modest, yet original contract before finally signing a long-term deal a few months ago. Jackson, though, displayed his angst for a new deal throughout last season and his numbers dropped significantly. The Eagles are hoping he reverts back to his dominant ways in keeping defenses honest now that he finally got what he wanted.

That scenario could have unfolded for the second straight year had the Eagles not offered McCoy a new deal this week. The running back position has a short shelf life and is more important than receiver for reasons to numerous to characterize, so it was wise to have one of the premier backs in the fold before ruffling some feathers and causing a disturbance. Jackson admitted that his brief holdout and attitude about a deal was a bad choice, and was damaging for negotiations at that time. Jackson and McCoy are both clients of agent Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus would probably put his life on the line for a customer and didn't have to in recent deals with the two Philly stars.

Nobody wants to play under a cloud of uncertainty, and McCoy doesn't have to worry about that anymore. He could pull a Woody Allen and take the money and run, but that's not his style. McCoy said he is the type of player who wants to be totally focused on football and all that's left is to bring home the organization's first Super Bowl title.

"We have one main goal. ... The main goal is to win a championship," said McCoy, who set the franchise record for rushing and total touchdowns last season. "I think we're on the same page."

McCoy got some friendly advice from former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. Westbrook inked a five-year extension back in November 2005 following a holdout in training camp, and supported McCoy in his quest for financial stability. Westbrook understands that forcing your hand on head coach Andy Reid or any member of the Eagles' brass is a poor choice, and he learned that the hard way before the two sides came to an agreement.

McCoy and Westbrook are similar in many ways for their ability to run between the tackles, around the ends and catch passes out of the backfield. Both are beloved players in the City of Brotherly Love as well. McCoy said nothing could be better than being with the Eagles for the long term and now he's one of the top paid running backs in the game alongside Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Steven Jackson. Rosenhaus said the Arian Foster deal in Houston set the wheels in motion, but what does that mean for other running backs such as Ray Rice or Matt Forte?

Rice and Forte have identical qualities in that they can both pound the football and open the passing game. Whether they will get a deal done with their respective teams any time soon is just a guess even though they are deserving of big-time cash.

As for McCoy, he now has a clear mind and can focus strictly on improving his name on the field rather than putting it on the dotted line.