Fletcher Cox was open and honest about what happened at the trade deadline back in early November. The Philadelphia Eagles shopped him around, then the two sides agreed it was mutually beneficial to keep the band together.
Their talks were transparent and no one walked away bitter or unhappy. But questions linger over the stud defensive tackle’s future after he failed to make the Pro Bowl for the first time in six seasons. He just turned 31 years old in December and some people think he might be regressing as a player.
Cox finished with 35 total tackles (seven for loss), along with 3.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles in 16 games. What lies ahead is anyone’s guess even as Cox has “10 toes” in Philadelphia.
“I’ve made it clear, I think I’m happy where I am right now,” Cox said. “And if you want to ask me any questions about that [my future] I can probably give you Todd France’s number and he can update you on that. Other than that, I’m not open to talking about any type of contract situations or me being here.”
France is his agent whom also counts Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald as clients. The Eagles restructured Cox’s contract last September by converting $13.925 million of his base salary into a signing bonus. The move freed up $11.14 million in cap space. His average annual salary is $17.1 million (via Spotrac) and carries cap charges through 2024. Cox could elect to become a free agent in 2023.
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Cox Saw Growth, Consistency in 2021 Season
The 2021 season didn’t start well for most players on the Eagles’ roster, especially not for Cox. He openly feuded with defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon while seeing huge dips in production. However, the two talked out their differences and the team started winning games. The Eagles owned the second-best defense over the final eight weeks.
“I think we started slow and that can go in various ways,” Cox said. “You know, it was a new scheme, a new defense, basically everybody kind of getting comfortable and knowing what they’re doing. And as the season progresses I think the biggest thing you see is consistency of the way we were playing defense up front, the style we were playing up front and the way guys were getting after it. Being more comfortable. So I think that was the biggest part.”
Nick Sirianni Won Over Locker Room
Cox was one of six team captains for the 2021 campaign and his voice holds major clout in the locker room. So when the six-time Pro Bowler gives you a vote of confidence, well, you can take it to the bank. He clearly appreciated what first-year head coach Nick Sirianni brought to the table and hopes he can continue to keep “renting his seat.”
“I tell the young guys, I’ve just been renting this seat for 10 years. I’m lucky enough to be able to rent this seat for so long, or the locker room, whatever it is. I tell them [the young guys] I’ve seen so many people come in and out of this locker room. Nick, he’s a really good coach and everybody, they love playing for him. He’s got a sense of humor and he’s a players’ coach, and you can’t help but respect that.”