Eagles Not Interested in Trading Fletcher Cox
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles still might trade up in the draft later this month but Fletcher Cox will not be a part of any potential package, at least according to Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman.
"Fletcher Cox is going to be on our team," Roseman said Monday as he and head coach Doug Pederson met the media for a pre-draft chat. "We're not trading Fletcher Cox."
The declarative statement from Roseman was designed to put an end to the speculation that the team's top player could be included in a potential deal to get a franchise quarterback on April 28, either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz.
Pederson, however, also confirmed that Cox, along with veteran running back Darren Sproles, will miss the first on-field work of the 2016 season set for Tuesday, the team's first voluntary minicamp.
"I'm OK with Fletcher Cox not being here. Its a voluntary program," Pederson said. "Do we miss him? Yeah, we miss him. We'd love to have him around. Right now he is hopefully keeping himself in shape and is ready to go."
The Eagles and Cox have been in contract negotiations for an extension to his rookie deal dating back over a year but the two sides have yet to agree on anything despite the fact that Roseman has signed several other players to new deals over that span.
"The intention on this side is to keep him for a long time," Roseman reiterated. "We are very clear about that. These things are complicated sometimes. They take time."
To be fair Roseman’s negotiations with Cox always shaped up as far more difficult because the Mississippi State product is already set to make significant money this season on the final year of his rookie deal ($7.8 million) and, if he has another big year, Cox could really cash in, a reality that Roseman hasn’t run from.
According to two NFL sources the Eagles have pegged Cox’s worth at somewhere between $12 million and $14 million a year but if you look at the success new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has had with under tackles in his 4-3 scheme, Cox’s projected position, that number could rise significantly after the 2016 season if Cox feels like betting on himself.
With most of their work in free agency done, the Eagles are currently $10.8 million under the cap, according to NFLPA figures. And that’s where the inventive Roseman comes in because both Cox and the rookie class remain on deck.
"It's a good problem to have," Roseman said. "We want him here for a long time. You would rather have really good players you are trying to get under contract instead of trying to find them."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen