Is a bounceback season for Eagles star Fletcher Cox a reasonable request?

Fletcher Cox #91, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Fletcher Cox #91, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The following statement won’t make sense to the G.O.A.T., Tom Brady, or Philadelphia Eagles legend Jason Kelce, but for the majority of the rest of us, life promises that we’ll get older as time wears on. The 2022-2023 NFL regular season will be Fletcher Cox‘s 11th playing at football’s highest level. All of which have been played in the midnight green, but the vibe is different now.

Cox is playing on a one-year ‘prove-it’ deal, and there are theories that this will be his final run in the midnight green. That isn’t what’s shocking though. It’s amazing that there’s a large contingent of Philly’s fan base that harbors both disappointment and resentment that he’s on the team now.

Some are expecting Fletcher Cox’s bounceback in 2022, but that isn’t a

As die-hard and united as the Eagles’ fan base has a reputation for being, there are still grey areas where conflict springs eternal. People still believe this team should have kept Nick Foles over Carson Wentz. There are also debates like the following.

Some are adamant that Philly should have moved off of Fletcher Cox a while ago.

Last season wasn’t a great year by Cox standards, but to some, even though he made the Pro Bowl in 2020, there’s a belief that the signs of his deterioration were evident then and that his election to pro football’s all-star team was the result of his reputation carrying him.

For most of Fletch’s decade of dominance, he’s been seen as the NFL’s second-best defensive tackle behind Aaron Donald, but that isn’t the case anymore. He’s been leapfrogged by the likes of Grady Jarrett, Cameron Heyward, Chris Jones, and Deforest Buckner, but that isn’t anything to hold his head down about, right?

Here’s where things get complicated. Sit down if you aren’t sitting already. Recently, Mike Tanier of The Football Outsiders asked a question that, once upon of time would have been ridiculous to utter. Tanier took the time to debate whether or not Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox are truly Hall of Famers.

Tanier states that, once upon a time, that question would have been answered with a resounding yes, but in terms of Cox, a dropoff in recent years could hurt him down the road. Here’s a quote:

"Cox’s first problem is Aaron Donald, of course: it’s hard to start a Pro Football Hall of Fame argument with “second-best player at his position in his conference during his peak”. Cox’s second problem may be Cameron Heyward, a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler who is building a late-career Hall of Fame resume just as Cox is in steep decline… Cox has other problems. There’s Ndamukong Suh, whose candidacy is going to be complicated… And then there is Kevin Williams, with his five All-Pro selections and “Williams Wall” fame, slowly moving along in the semifinalist queue. If Williams is on the slow freight track, Cox might end up on the siding."

It’s hard to read that, especially when one knows that Fletch has been Philly’s best player for most of the ten years stretching from 2012 to 2021, but ask yourselves a question. Had anyone else performed like he did this past season, would we have felt good about turning around and inking that person to a one-year, $14 million purse and feeling good about it?

There is hope. One can never count out a competitor who’s playing for a long-term deal, whether that be in Philadelphia or somewhere else. There have been questions about his motor and whether or not the young guys in the locker room that look up to him are picking up bad habits by watching him, but to a man, no one in Philly’s locker room has anything to say other than great things.

Recently, Fletch got another nice nod. CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso named comeback candidates for the coming NFL season. Number 91 made the list, and here is some of Trapasso’s reasoning for putting him on the list:

"Despite it feeling like Cox has drastically faded from the borderline superstar pedestal, he can still bring it. Rather quietly, Cox registered a respectable 44 pressures in 2021. Now, beyond the loose-hipped, explosive Javon Hargrave and the lengthy athleticism specimen Josh Sweat, Cox will play next to 6-7 and 340 pounds of grown man in first-round pick Jordan Davis. During the duration of the Howie Roseman era, the Eagles have had a formidable defensive front. With this group, pick your poison. Can’t game plan to stop everybody.And it’s not like Cox is deep into his mid-30s. He’ll only turn 32 in December. Resurgent season incoming for the longtime stud on the inside for the Eagles."

In his first ten NFL seasons, Fletcher Cox appeared in 156 regular-season games with 150 starts. He’s tallied 443 tackles with 58 sacks (and 142 additional quarterback hits) while breaking up 14 passes, forcing 14 fumbles, and scoring three defensive touchdowns.

He’s added another 28 tackles, another sack, and one forced fumble to his resume in eight career playoff games. A First-team All-Pro nod (2018), three Second-Team All-Pro nominations (2014, 2015, 2017), six Pro Bowls (2015–2020), and spots on the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team (2012) and NFL 2010s All-Decade Team have been the result.

Trending. Young defenders expected to make huge strides. light

Is Fletcher Cox a Hall-of-Famer? Only time will tell, but if he puts a bow on his revenge tour and makes another Pro Bowl that will help his case. Is he one of the best Eagles of all time? He absolutely is! Are we on our way to witnessing a bounce-back season? It’s completely possible!

He’s one of

Eagles who have played for Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson, and Nick Sirianni, and if this is his final tour with the midnight green, we’re hoping he goes out with a bang. He deserves that. So do the fans. Fingers are crossed this way.