The Eagles and running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy came to terms last week on a 5 year contract extension that will keep the star back in Eagle green until 2017. The Eagles in my eyes have had a fantastic off-season so far and this signing in my opinion is the most important signing they’ve made since the end of last season. The Eagles needed to do this in order for this team to have a chance at succeeding next season. We all saw how playing on the last year of a rookie contract affected DeSean Jackson last season and the chance of seeing history repeat itself is something no one wanted to see in Philly.

McCoy is the most important player on the team going into next season. Without him the Eagles offense is completely different. He adds a dimension to the offense that is absolutely essential for them to move down field. Even when McCoy doesn’t touch the ball his presence in the back field is something that makes defenses around the NFL think about on every play. You just don’t know where the ball will go with this offense and with playmakers like DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek, and Jeremy Maclin already lined up McCoy provides that extra punch that defenses have to deal with.

McCoy is about to enter his 4th year as an NFL running back and his 3rd year as the Eagles starting running back. Usually for running backs this is the year where they enter their prime and begin to reach their pinnacle. We all know the life of the NFL running back is something that doesn’t last long. A 5 year deal is perfect for both the Eagles and McCoy. I expect him to keep the momentum going from his fantastic 2011 campaign and provide Eagle fans with many big plays throughout 2012.

Since coming into the league McCoy has reached 1,000 yards rushing in 2 of his first 3 seasons. His rookie season also included time shared with former Eagle running back Brian Westbrook which attributed to him not reaching 1000 yards. We all remember how great Westbrook was. He was an instrumental part of the Eagles success on offense but McCoy will be even better. He scored 17 rushing touchdowns last season and 3 passing touchdowns while fumbling only once. His touchdown total broke an Eagles single season record and led the league. I expect him to build on this now that his new deal is in place.

McCoy will be 24 when the 2012 season starts so he’s young enough to make a huge impact on the success of the Eagles over the next 5 years. Barring injury I believe he has a chance at becoming the greatest Eagle running back of all time once his career is all said and done. The 5 year extension is for a total of $43.5 million which puts him as the fourth highest paid back in the NFL. I consider McCoy to be a top 3 running back in the NFL right in the discussion with Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and Arian Foster. By the end of next season if healthy I see no reason he’ll shouldn’t be considered the top running back in the NFL.

The 2011 season marked the coming out party for LeSean McCoy. His stock should rise in 2012 and now that he has his contract situation behind him he’ll have the opportunity to focus solely on football going into next season which could be very dangerous for defenses around the league. At the end of the day this signing could be the most important signing in Eagle history because IF they can get their act together and win a Superbowl within the next 5 years it only could have happened with the signing of LeSean “Shady” McCoy. Let’s face it every signing made this off season was important for this team but McCoy is the heart of this offense and imagining an offense without him just wouldn’t have been right for any Eagle fan.