The tale goes like this: Upon deciding that he would forego his last two seasons at Pitt and make the leap to the NFL, LeSean McCoy zipped to Florida to interview a few agent prospects.
Two of the candidates rented out a hotel conference room to hold their presentations. A third, by the name of Drew Rosenhaus, made no such reservations but showed up anyway with his top aides in tow, ready to take over.
The hotel manager intervened and noted that the room had only been reserved for the last two men, to which Rosenhaus responded by slapping a pair of American Express black cards on the table and saying something along the lines of, “Take whatever. Bill me.”
A short time later, the McCoys—bowled over by the sales pitch—were signing on the dotted line. Another future Eagles star secured.
That wasn’t the last time Rosenhaus would have to steal the heart of the stud running back out of Harrisburg, despite Rosenhaus’s efforts to appear omnipresent for all his near 200 clients. Last season, some of McCoy’s peers began suggesting the three-year vet—in search of a lucrative contract extension—might be best served by an agent with a more modest stable. McCoy went on to fire Rosenhaus twice in a month.
But the ever-persistent super-agent (it was once penned that only cockroaches, Twinkies and Rosenhaus would survive a nuclear holocaust) would not relent, and twice won him back.
His efforts successful, the “Offseason of Drew” could commence at One NovaCare Way.
Three of the Eagles’ top priorities coming off a disappointing 8-8 campaign were to re-sign guard Evan Mathis, work out a new deal for fed-up and franchised receiver DeSean Jackson, and lock up McCoy long-term. All three are represented by Rosenhaus. That’s one way to test the strength of a once-frayed cable line.
So far, the ride has remained on the rails.
“Every relationship needs to be worked on,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “If you don’t work on relationships—especially in high-pressure situations—they can deteriorate. I think as you go further along and you have more history with someone, you understand different perspectives.”
Added Rosenhaus: “To me, Howie is one of the most talented general managers in the NFL. He’s a good negotiator, understands the salary cap … and has a proven knack for personnel and player evaluation. He is one of the top up-and-coming GMs in the National Football League.
“I don’t know I can have any more respect for Andy Reid than I do. I respect him as a person and professionally, and while we have had our ups and downs, he is a man of great integrity, a class act and a fine leader of men.”
Similar praise went out to team president Joe Banner.
Whether by improved relations or out of sheer necessity, the Eagles and Rosenhaus worked out a five-year, $51 million contract for Jackson in mid-March, a deal that for a long time looked like it would not get done.
“I just want to tell [Rosenhaus] I appreciate him making this deal work when everybody said he couldn’t do it,” said Jackson. “I was loyal and I stuck by him, and we made it work.”
Days later, Mathis was re-signed.
“Drew works very hard for his clients. If I’ve ever needed to talk to him, I never have a problem getting in touch with him,” said Mathis, who was also being courted by Baltimore. “He has always shot me straight and has always let me know exactly where I stand. When you hire a guy, you want him to keep your best interests in mind. Drew does that.”
One shoe has yet to drop, and it’s a big one. McCoy is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is looking to be paid like one of the top backs in the league. (For some perspective, the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson just inked a seven-year, $96 million deal with $36 million guaranteed; McCoy is slated to make around $600,000 this season.) With such a short shelf life for running backs, there’s a heightened sense of urgency to cash in and cash in now. The Eagles have expressed a desire to keep McCoy in green for the long haul, but until the ink is dry, the chance for fireworks remains.
The Eagles and Rosenhaus are two-for-two this offseason but it is the third and final hurdle on which the parties will be judged. McCoy needs to be present, happy and invested for the season to go off the right way.
As fate would have it, the man many held responsible for the damage done during the T.O. saga once again has his hands a pluck away from the organizational heartstrings.
But lessons have been learned, the partnership has matured and familiarity is breeding more understanding than contempt.
At least for the time being …
“I think it’s mutually beneficial to have positive relationships with each other,” said Roseman. “They have good players, we’re looking to get good players. They have some of our players, and we’re looking to have great relationships and long-term relationships with our players. When you get a situation where everyone can benefit from the positivity, good things happen.”