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Chris Cooley and Rock Cartwright deserve new contracts

Hogs Haven goes on record.

The scoop on Chris Cooley via the Times via AOL Fanhouse is that Chris Cooley will get a new contract, and we are all for it:

Gonzalez is the NFL's highest paid tight end (his new contract includes $17.75 million in guaranteed salary). But Cooley could be in line for the kind of deals signed by Franks (seven years, $28 million) or Gates (six years, $24 million) before the 2005 season. If he's lucky, Cooley will get a deal like Denver gave blocking tight end Daniel Graham this offseason -- five years, $30 million ($15 million guaranteed).
Given his production in this offense, that's a price worth paying. He produced more receptions and yards than either Brandon Lloyd or Antwaan Randle-El, and both of them signed ~ 7 year 30M dollar contracts, which pays out more than 4M per year. And that was last year, prior to another inflation of the salary cap.

For the past two years he's been the most consistent receiving target on the team (two 700 yard seasons -- Santana Moss saw substantial production decrease from '05-'06) and does a lot more blocking than the receivers. He also is the only other reliable red zone receiving threat behind Santana Moss, with 13 touchdowns over the past two years (2nd behind Santana, with 16).

We should acknowledge that Chris Cooley has been an absolute bargain in Washington. To put him in perspective, his 2007 salary cap hit is less than Todd Collins, our (possibly) 3rd string QB. He's also a flat-out better tight end than Bubba Franks, who he is compared to in the above article. In three years he's set single-season reception and yardage milestones that Bubba Franks hasn't sniffed. He has more 20+ and 40+ receptions than Franks has had over an 8 year NFL career. The bottom line is that Chris Cooley knows he needs a new contract, he deserves a new contract, we're better off paying him what he deserves now rather than later (after he's inevitably increased his worth on the field), and the amount I'm willing to part with might reach 6M a year over the course of a contract.

We'll play ball with Redskins Insider as well when Jason La Canfora suggests that Rock Cartwright is a true burgundy Redskin deserving of financial compensation:

Rock is also one of the few long-term Skins contributors around yet to get paid. I heard the team began they last negotiations with him a few years back with a mind-numbingly low signing bonus offer to him, and they eventually got a deal done anyway. Rock is entering the final year of that deal and figures he will have to bust his hump in a big way to get any kind of deal significantly over the veteran minimums.
The only bad news is that he hired agent Drew Rosenhaus. The good news is that last year marked the first time Rock Cartwright had been heavily involved in kickoff returns, and he acquitted himself quite well in that newfound role. Eight players ran back kickoffs and Rock was one of them. His 100 yard kickoff return against the Cowboys was the 2nd longest last season. Although 17th overall on kickoff returns average (24.1) he was also one of the workhorses of the season, finishing 3rd in total returns, with 64. Per Football Outsiders, we finished 7th in the league on kickoff returns.

Both of these players represent "core" Redskins, and not in the campy sense that either/or has the subjective qualities that you or I deem necessary for that uncertain denomination but rather because they've both spent their entire professional careers with the Redskins. Rock Cartwright was drafted in 2002 and Chris Cooley in 2004. There's no reason why both players cannot start and finish in the burgundy and gold. Rock Cartwright won't cost us a fortune, though he's a reliable backup RB and has now made himself worthwhile on kickoff returns. Chris Cooley will cost a pretty penny but has proven repeatedly that he's worth every penny to this team generally and the offense specifically.