Appearing before the media for the first time since re-signing with the team, Fletcher Cox detailed his experience of being released by the Eagles back on March 17.
For the fans, it was certainly shocking, though reactions varied depending on how you currently view the six-time Pro-Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Ultimately, the Eagles were able to negotiate with Cox and bring him back on a one-year, $14 million deal, greatly helping the salary cap.
Cox explained that the situation was tense. “There was a deadline to get things done. You know time is always ticking. You only have a certain amount of time to get things done.” However, he understood Philadelphia’s desire to retain him.
“I knew they wanted me here. That was just part of the process. Everything was respectively professional and obviously, I appreciate the organization for that, and we got things figured.”
The 31-year-old also explained he wasn’t worried he’d be suiting up for a different team in what will soon be his 11th season.
“I wasn’t nervous, I knew at some point… everybody has their day, right? That day they get released from the team they’ve been playing for a long time. Obviously, at some point, that day has to come, but we were able to get things worked out, and I’m here now.”
Coming Off A Down Year, Cox Stopped By OTAs
Despite practices being optional, Cox said he attended two of three last week and has been to all this week. “I always pop my head in,” he replied. “That’s just a sign of respect and a sign of being professional. You want that to carry on.”
It’s good to see Cox taking workouts — however trivial they might be for him at this point in his career — seriously. Despite being fifth all-time in sacks (58.0), sixth in forced fumbles (14), 20th in tackles (313), third in tackles for loss (78), and second in QB hits (142) for Philadelphia, Cox has certainly dropped off recently.
In 2021, the lineman had just 3.5 sacks and 35 tackles in 16 games. Those sacks are his lowest since 2019, while the tackles are his fewest since 2017.
The numbers were just unacceptable given his $16 million yearly earning. It resulted in him being swirled with trade rumors before the release.
While no one is expecting Cox to suddenly burst into his youthful self, it would be nice, and beneficial to the defense, if he could contribute much more in the way of pass-rushing. At the very least, he’s off to a solid start for training camp.
Cox Seems To Like What He Sees From Jordan Davis
It seems Cox has already taken a liking to the 13th overall pick Jordan Davis. “Jordan and I converse all the time,” Cox explained. “We talk about football, but more importantly about life, how things have been lately for you. I’m excited to see him go into training camp.”
While it remains to be seen exactly how Cox performs under his new contract, what is obvious is that his leadership will be crucial to the line.
He’s the longest-tenured member on the defensive line behind Brandon Graham, and with a number of young players present — Davis, Milton Williams, and Marlon Tuipulotu — mentoring will be crucial.
It’s hard not to notice similarities between the two bruisers. Davis (6’6″, 340 lbs) trumps Cox (6’4″, 310 lbs) in size, though both are used to commanding all of the offense’s attention. Cox can surely help to teach Davis how to use his size to overpower defenders and reach the quarterback.