For the longest time, the theory has been that, regardless of what the Philadelphia Eagles‘ issues have been, there’s always been one thing that they can hang their hat on. For the last nine years, they’ve known that they can depend on Fletcher Cox.
As he enters his tenth season as a professional, Cox’s resume is the stuff of legend. A First-team All-Pro in 2018 and a three-time Second-team All-Pro in 2014, 2015, and 2017, Number 91 has been a member of the last six Pro Bowl rosters. He’s also been viewed by many over the past seven seasons as the second-best defensive tackle in the game behind Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
It would seem as though everyone would be arguing that’s the type of guy that teams would like to designate as a building block and forge a defense around. Recently, however, there have been whispers of internal issues between the legend and the only team that he’s ever played for. There’s also this.
One of the more trusted voices when it comes to Philadelphia Eagles content has suggested an idea that you’ve heard once or twice if you read Inside The Iggles with any frequency.
Perhaps the Philadelphia Eagles should consider trading Fletcher Cox.
Do not adjust your screens. This isn’t a drill. You have indeed read the previous line correctly. Recently, Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice stated something that, again, the ITI staff has mentioned on occasion in the past. Trading Fletcher Cox shouldn’t be placed outside of the realm of possibility.
Why? It’s simple. As Kempski so eloquently states, there are three reasons. One, he commands a high salary. Second, he’s no spring chicken anymore, and third, the Philadelphia Eagles are never going to get more for him than they’d get by moving him right now.
Truth be told, that third argument can be used for several guys on this Eagles roster if we’re talking about trade bait, but that’s another argument for another day. So, how about this Cox theory? Naturally, an idea like this one would garner its fair share of both supporters and detractors, but maybe Kempski can convince you. Here’s some of what he had to say on the subject.
"In 2018, when Cox was in his prime, he had 10.5 sacks and 34 QB hits. In 2019 and 2020 combined, he had 10 sacks and 19 quarterback hits. One year from now, Cox will be one year older. Trust me, I did the math on that. Even if his numbers in 2021 stay at the same levels they were in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to be worth less to other teams, and if he declines further, you’re probably looking at another Zach Ertz-like situation."
Add guys like Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson to the list of guys that Philly held on to for one more year than was necessary. At some point, this team has to learn from its mistakes because so far, it doesn’t appear as though that’s happening.
Sure, we have to be fair. There are so many complimentary things that can be said about Cox, but from a wins and losses standpoint, here’s something to consider. Though he’s been dominant more often than not, recently, there’s no evidence that suggests Fletcher Cox’s presence still elevates this team past any point they’d reach without him.
Despite having him on the roster, Philly’s regressed in every season since winning the Super Bowl. They missed the postseason altogether in 2020 with a 4-11-1 record. Yes, the argument can be made that the Philadelphia Eagles would have been less competitive without him, but if what’s being said is the general consensus and this is a rebuilding year, which is what so many people have described this as being, the time to move on is now.
There are contenders that will give the Eagles a ton to land his services, and at the risk of ticking a few people off, try and think of things this way. The Dallas Cowboys decided to trade Herschel Walker once, and that helped them win three Super Bowls.
If the Birds employ the same type of mindset, a little addition by subtraction could lead to some better days in Philly, or the Birds can just wait, watch him regress, and get nothing for him just like they got nothing for guys like Alshon Jeffery. It may be time to make a tough decision.