On the Money: Backfield Comparisons

The Eagles opened the vault for LeSean McCoy, giving him a contract extension worth $9 million per season. We provide a rather startling comparison between McCoy and the Packers' low-budget backfield.

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

And build a football team.

The Philadelphia Eagles signed running back LeSean McCoy to a five-year deal worth $45 million, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. McCoy, who was entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract, will receive a guaranteed $20,765,000.

McCoy, who finished fourth in the NFL with 1,309 rushing yards, led the league with 102 first downs and set team records with 17 rushing touchdowns and 20 total touchdowns, ranks behind only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (seven years, $100 million) and Tennessee's Chris Johnson (six years, $56 million) on the list of highest-paid running backs.

Given that money, it's interesting to note how the Packers are treating their backfield. Ryan Grant, who was their best running back during the second half of the season, remains unsigned, with the Packers having made little to no effort to sign a productive veteran who probably wouldn't cost more than an incentive-laden minimum-salary contract.

"I have nothing to report on what Ryan Grant's status is right now, but Ryan's been an excellent player for us and time will answer that question," coach Mike McCarthy said on Sunday when asked about the future of Grant, who carried a cap charge of $4,453,125 last season.

How's this: Fullback John Kuhn is the highest-paid performer among the seven running backs/fullbacks under contract. In fact, the total value of Kuhn's three-year contract is worth three times as much the four-year total of the next-highest-paid player in the backfield.

Under contract are:

— Kuhn: Three years, $7,500,000 ($750,000 bonus as free agent in 2011). Signed through 2013.

Alex Green: Four years, $2,577,500 ($515,000 bonus as third-round pick in 2011). Signed through 2014.

James Starks: Four years, $1,890,300 ($100,300 bonus as sixth-round pick in 2010). Signed through 2013.

Brandon Saine: Three years, $1,395,000 (no bonus when given midseason promotion from practice squad in 2011; was given $5,000 as undrafted free agent in 2011). Signed through 2013.

— Marc Tyler: Three years, $1,175,000 ($5,000 bonus as undrafted free agent in 2012). Signed through 2014.

— Duane Bennett: Three years, $1,174,000 ($4,000 bonus as undrafted free agent in 2012). Signed through 2014.

— Nic Cooper: Three years, $1,171,500 ($1,500 signing bonus as undrafted free agent in 2012). Signed through 2014.

All told, the full-contract values of those seven players totals $16,883,300. That's $4 million less than McCoy's guaranteed haul.

And for what it's worth, the Packers' running backs last season rushed for 1,295 yards and seven touchdowns, and caught 74 passes for 636 yards and three touchdowns. That's 1,931 total yards and 10 total touchdowns, compared to 1,624 total yards and 20 total touchdowns for McCoy.

This isn't to suggest the Packers' backfield as a whole is better than McCoy, nor is it to suggest the Packers would be better off without a dynamic horse in the backfield. Nonetheless, the Packers' backfield isn't dynamic, but put in that light, it's not a bad bargain.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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