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Eagles All-22 Film Review: Time to move on from Fletcher Cox

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Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Before the start of NFL Free Agency, I will attempt to break down as many of the Eagles’ free agents as possible. Each article will include stats, the player’s strengths and weaknesses, and my overall thoughts on whether the player should be re-signed or not. All rankings only include players with at least 20% of the snaps this year. All statistics are via Pro Football Focus unless mentioned otherwise! PREVIOUSLY: Javon Hargrave review | James Bradberry review | TJ Edwards review

Statistics

Fletcher Cox’s stats are really interesting. It seems mad that the Eagles had so many talented defensive tackles yet Cox played the 14th-highest amount of snaps at 32 years old! You wonder how productive he could have been on a reduced snap count. I’ve seen a lot of comments this year about Cox’s decline as a pass rusher, that the pass rushing stats are actually very good. 11th in total pressures and 7th in sacks is very good for a 32-year-old. 9 sacks feel slightly lucky based on the pass-rushing productivity, but you can’t argue that the pass-rushing numbers are good.

Strengths

+ He got better as the season went on and his snaps reduced, especially towards the end of the regular season.

+ Has the versatility to line up all along the defensive line. He is a rare talent who can still be productive as a defensive end and a nose tackle in certain situations

+ Really good rate of turning pressures into sacks last year.

+ He’s still very quick. He can get moved and redirect quickly in the run game to make a play on the ball carrier

+ He may be older but he is still very athletic for a defensive tackle

+ He can still rush the passer in a number of different ways as a defensive tackle. There is always a place for players who can rush the quarterback and get pressure consistently.

Weaknesses

- Struggled too often in run defense this year. Couldn’t get off one-on-one blocks or get into the backfield.

- Really struggles to anchor at times in run defense and can get completely taken out of a play, not just moved slightly

- Will be 33 at the end of next season. His best play is certainly behind him.

- He struggles against double-teams and doesn’t get double-teamed that much anymore

Overall

Like Howie Roseman, I am not a fan of losing great Eagle players. But it feels like the time is right for Cox to move on. Cox is still a good player and I think that some of the criticism of him this year was over the top. But, overall, he struggled in run defense and this was a major problem for the Eagles' defense this past season. Additionally, although he did have a high number of sacks and showed that he can still rush the quarterback, there is absolutely no doubt that he benefited from playing with an elite defensive line that enabled him to have a lot of one-on-one matchups.

Spotrac predicts that Cox will earn a 2-year $28m contract, which ranks 8th highest at defensive tackle. This feels pretty accurate, considering he took a 1 year $14m deal with the Eagles last year and the salary cap has once again gone up. There will be NFL teams willing to pay good money for a defensive tackle who can get close to double-digit sacks still. I do not think the Eagles can afford to play Cox with money when they have so many other free agents. I don’t think he should be paid like a top-10 player anymore.

If you are going to prioritize a defensive tackle, there is no doubt in my mind that Javon Hargrave should be the Eagles' priority. However, if Hargrave goes elsewhere, I would not hate a 1 year re-signing for Cox if the money was decent. I think losing both Hargrave and Cox in the same off-season would feel pretty rough.

Fletcher Cox will go down as an Eagle great and I will miss watching him, but this feels like a decision where the Eagles and Howie Roseman have to use their heads and not their hearts.

Should they re-sign? = Sadly, no

Poll

Do you want the Eagles to re-sign Fletcher Cox?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Yes
    (185 votes)
  • 82%
    No
    (847 votes)
1032 votes total Vote Now

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