The Eagles and standout defensive lineman Fletcher Cox are “closing in” on a long-term extension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Two sources tell Cole that if and when the two sides complete a deal, it will include upwards of $52MM in guaranteed money.
However, Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links) spoke to a source who referred to the report on Cox as “untrue.” Bowen clarified that his source initially was denying that a deal between the two sides was done – whereas Cole’s report merely suggests that an agreement is close – but the Daily News scribe later added (via Twitter) that his source also emphatically denies that Cox and the Eagles are even close to a deal.
This isn’t the first time that a report has suggested Cox and the Eagles are nearing a multiyear agreement. Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com wrote nearly two and a half months ago, in early February, that the two sides were “close to a deal” that might include more than $50MM in guarantees. At the time, Cox took to Twitter to dismiss the story, so perhaps he’ll do so again in the wake of Cole’s report.
Still, there’s some reason to believe a contract agreement could be coming sooner rather than later for the 25-year-old. Cole suggests that the Eagles would like to see Cox participate in as much as possible of the team’s offseason program as the franchise transitions from former head coach Chip Kelly to his replacement, Doug Pederson. Cox has skipped Philadelphia’s voluntary workouts so far this month.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman also indicated on Monday that the team has zero interest in trading Cox, and is fully committed to locking him up, adding that he’s not worried about the club “winning” extension negotiations and getting Cox at a discount — he simply wants to keep the star defender around for the long term.
Cox had arguably the best season of his four-year career in 2015, setting a new career high with 9.5 sacks. He also racked up 71 tackles, three forced fumbles, and a pair of fumble recoveries. The performance earned the Mississippi State alum his first Pro Bowl nod, along with a top-10 spot on Pro Football Focus’ rankings of interior defenders — he placed ninth out of 123 qualified players.
As a first-round pick in 2012, Cox is currently under contract for one more season, with a fifth-year option for 2016 worth $7.799MM. However, if and when he and the Eagles get a new deal done, Cox will be in line for a sizable raise.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.