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Eastern Washington University Basketball
Sports >  EWU basketball

Birds of Pay: With his recent $48 million contract extension, Cooper Kupp joins an exclusive group of big-money Eastern Washington alums

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 22, 2020

With his recent $48-million contract extension, Cooper Kupp joined Michael Roos, left, and Rodney Stuckey, right, among EWU athletes with the most lucrative deals.  (Associated Press photos)
With his recent $48-million contract extension, Cooper Kupp joined Michael Roos, left, and Rodney Stuckey, right, among EWU athletes with the most lucrative deals. (Associated Press photos)

From the Canadian Football League, the NFL fringe to overseas professional basketball, dozens of former Eastern Washington stars have gone on to earn six-figure salaries.

Few have earned millions a year, but the list is growing.

Here are some of the most notable sports contracts signed by former EWU athletes.

Cooper Kupp: The former EWU wide receiver and fourth-year pro recently agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams worth up to $48 million, according to multiple reports.

Kupp, a third-round draft pick in 2017, has career totals of 205 catches, 2,717 yards and 21 touchdowns despite missing half of the 2018 season due to a knee injury.

The Yakima native is helping spearhead a new EWU athletics fundraising campaign (“Are you in?”), which aims to raise $2 million to help alleviate recent budget shortfalls created by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting postponement of the 2020 football season.

Michael Roos: Months before his lone Pro Bowl season with the Tennessee Titans in 2008, the hulking offensive tackle signed a six-year, $43 million contract.

Roos, a second-round draft pick by the Titans in 2005 who retired with the same franchise in 2015, started all 148 games of his career.

Still active in the happenings of EWU football, Roos’ $500,000 donation in 2010 led the installment of the program’s iconic red turf and the revamped stadium’s namesake, Roos Field.

Rodney Stuckey: Four years after being drafted 15th overall by the Detroit Pistons, Stuckey signed a four-year contract extension in 2011 worth $27.7 million.

In 2015, Stuckey, who is now retired, signed a three-year contract with the Indiana Pacers worth $21 million.

The athletic guard from Kentwood, Washington, played 10 NBA seasons and averaged 12.9 points, 3.7 points and three rebounds in regular-season games.

Coach Jim McElwain: After thriving at Colorado State, head coach and former EWU quarterback Jim McElwain signed a six-year contract with college football power Florida worth $3.5 million a year.

McElwain was fired during the 2017 season and was given a $7.8 million contract buyout. He is the head coach at Central Michigan.

Coach Jimmy Lake: Lake, a former EWU and North Central High School safety, was one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the country before the former Washington Huskies defensive coordinator replaced his boss, retired head coach Chris Petersen, after the 2019 season.

Lake and Washington reportedly agreed to a five-year contract worth a guaranteed $3 million a year.

Kendrick Bourne: Bourne went from undrafted rookie receiver in 2017 to a major contributor with the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons, recording two receptions in a Super Bowl loss in February.

Bourne signed a one-year, $3.2 million extension with the 49ers this past offseason.

The former EWU All-American has totaled 94 receptions for 1,203 yards and nine touchdowns.

Taiwan Jones: Jones, a fourth-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2011, signed a three-year, $4.3 million extension with the same franchise in 2014.

The former EWU star running back and current Buffalo Bills veteran has been primarily a special teams player in his 10-year NFL career, averaging 23 yards a kick return with 50 total tackles (as a cornerback), and 483 yards of offense and a receiving touchdown.

Ed Simmons: Ed Simmons was a member of the Washington Football Team’s heralded “Hogs” in the 1980s and 1990s, a massive offensive line that helped the franchise win two Super Bowls.

Simmons, a sixth-round draft pick in 1986, signed a three-year, $6 million contract with Washington in 1996. He retired in 1998.

Samson Ebukam: Drafted in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, the outside linebacker signed a four-year, $3,013,082 contract that same year.

He may be due for a bigger payday after the 2020 season.

Ebukam, one of the Rams’ primary edge rushers, has appeared in over 50% of the Rams’ defensive snaps over the past four seasons and is first EWU alum to start in a Super Bowl.

Ebukam has 123 total tackles, 9½ sacks, four fumble recoveries, an interception and two defensive touchdowns.

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