Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: Teams have been contacting the Eagles about Cox, figuring they could take a run at him to see if they could get him for a mid- to late-round pick. On the heels of Cox airing grievances about the defense, teams have reacted. Cox is one of the core veterans GM Howie Roseman wants around, so he’s unlikely to part with him for anything less than a high pick.
Through multiple press conferences this season, Cox has made it clear he’s not thrilled about playing in Jonathan Gannon’s defensive scheme. Cox, the Eagles’ highest-paid player, only has one sack, one tackle for loss, and just three quarterback hits through the first seven games.
While it’s fair to wonder if Cox is being maximized in his current role, there’s also reason to believe he’s simply a player on the decline. Widening the sample back to last season, Cox has just two sacks, two tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits in his last 11 games. The production simply isn’t justifying the cost.
So, both the player and the team have reason to be unhappy. It might be in the best interest of both sides to move on.
The idea of trading Cox is hardly new. The possibility was forecasted here back in January.
Cox turns 31 this year and, if you include his playoff games, he has about 9.5 NFL seasons under his belt. One can only wonder if Cox is past his prime of being a true difference-maker, especially relative to his price tag. The Eagles won’t be moving on from him this offseason because trading or cutting him would only clear $2.8 million in cap space compared to $21 million in dead money. If the Eagles get off to a bad start during the upcoming season, which seems plausible, they could look to sell him ahead of the 2021 NFL trade deadline. Otherwise, they might look to deal him during the 2022 offseason if they’re still looking to facilitate their retooling process.
In June, Jeff McLane wrote that the Eagles have “internal concern” that Cox wasn’t taking the extra steps to maximize his effectiveness and longevity. It’s not an unfair worry when considering Cox’s extensive workload.
Brandon Graham, drafted in 2010 and turned 33 in April: 6161 career snaps— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) July 19, 2021
Fletcher Cox, drafted in 2012 and turns 31 in December: 7442 career snaps
My BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski wrote back in July that the Eagles should be looking for Cox trade opportunities. That idea wasn’t incredibly popular at the time, especially with the idea that Philly’s 2021 outlook might be better than expected.
But had the Eagles pulled the trigger on a Cox trade back then (assuming they were offers), they likely could’ve gotten more than the “mid- to late-round pick” offers they’re currently receiving. This organization’s lack of foresight combined with the overvaluing of their own players is a real problem.
On that latter note, the Eagles restructured Cox’s contract back in September. While not quite as disastrous as inexplicably guaranteeing Alshon Jeffery’s 2020 salary, this decision was not an optimal maneuver by Howie Roseman. The restructure essentially neutered the team’s ability to trade Cox this season. As explained by the aforementioned Kempski:
However, as is often the case, the Eagles were too smart for their own good. Instead of moving Cox at a time when they could have rid themselves of his contract completely while also saving a little money and likely acquiring a good asset in return in a non-contending season, Cox’s decline could accelerate, he’ll continue to be “a big rock in the salary cap jar” through the 2023 season, and there will no longer be any sort of good asset that the team will acquire in return for him via trade.
And so Cox will likely remain on the Eagles through the deadline but it’s very possible that trade talks could be revisited in the offseason.
Should the Eagles trade Fletcher Cox?
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