Fletcher Cox Considering Retirement?

Questions have surrounded each member of the Eagles’ ‘Core Four’ in recent years as they near the end of their decorated careers. Center Jason Kelce has not officially retired, but signs continue to point in that direction. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox could also hang up his cleats in the near future.

The latter is expected by many to retire at some point this offseason, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports. Cox has faced an uncertain future on a few occasions during the waning stages of his Eagles tenure. He was temporarily released in a cost-cutting move in 2022 before re-joining the team on a new deal. The 33-year-old faced the possibility of departing in free agency last year, but he again elected to remain in Philadelphia.

Cox turned down outside offers to ink a one-year, $10MM Eagles contract in 2023. The structure of that pact has him in line to carry a $5.7MM cap hit in 2024 and a $10.1MM hit the following season. A post-June 1 release would yield minimal cap savings this year, but it would be necessary to avoid a $14.3MM dead cap charge by moving on from Cox without the post-June 1 designation. A new contract could, of course, be in the cards should the six-time Pro Bowler elect to continue playing.

Cox remained a full-time starter in the 2023 season, his 12th with the team; he racked up five sacks, 17 QB hits and 28 pressures. Those figures were in line with (or better than) those of recent seasons, meaning he could continue to produce if he remained in place for another campaign. In the event he hung up his cleats, though, Philadelphia would have successors in place. Over the past two years, the team has invested a first-round pick in a Georgia D-lineman (Jordan Davis in 2022, Jalen Carter in 2023).

Those two would be in line for an increase in their respective workloads from last season – 45% and 51% – if Cox were to retire. Such a development would (presuming Kelce follows through with his reported decision) leave the Eagles without a mainstay on each side of the ball. Both right tackle Lane Johnson and defensive end Brandon Graham intend to play in 2024, but it will be interesting to see if Cox is once again alongside them. If the latter does elect to end his career, he will exit the game with a Super Bowl ring and more than $128MM in earnings.

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