ESPN’s Sando: Eagles Should Deal Cox to Titans for No. 1 Overall Pick
Since being chosen with the 12th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Fletcher Cox has been one of the most dominating players on the Philadelphia Eagles defense.
In four seasons he has 22 sacks and 213 tackled and this season began show flashes of dominance in the Eagles 3-4 defense. This year, he will move back inside in Jim Schwarz's 4-3 defense, a place he played as a rookie with the Birds.
Now 25, Cox is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract and become an unrestricted free agent in 2017, and could be commanding a pretty hefty salary, the Eagles are trying to lock him up before he hits the open market.
There has been various reports, some of which have said Cox is looking for anywhere from over $50 million in guaranteed money, to turning down a contract extension worth over $60 million guaranteed.
Perhaps, the Eagles view that kind of money as too expensive to keep Cox or just value a quarterback at the top of the draft.
ESPN’s Mike Sando, in an Insider piece presenting draft-related trades he thinks should happen, lists Cox and the Eagles first round pick (No. 8 overall) to the Tennessee Titans for their first-round pick (No. 1 overall).
The Eagles under this scenario would use the top overall choice for Jared Goff,Carson Wentz or whatever quarterback they had ranked highest on draft day. They would subtract a player (Cox) who has yet to sign a contract extension after Philadelphia picked up his fifth-year option. Cox would sign a long-term deal with the Titans as part of the arrangement, while Tennessee would pair the playmaking DT with Jurrell Casey on a suddenly formidable defensive front.
Dropping seven spots to No. 8 would not stop the Titans from addressing their offensive line or another position. The Eagles' previous jump from 13th to eighth in the draft order would become, in retrospect, a first step toward adding a long-term option at quarterback. Players drafted in the top 10 carry more expensive fifth-year options tethered to the transition tag, a price easier to justify for quarterbacks.
Other factors make this trade seem like a longer shot. The Eagles already have secured their short-term future at quarterback through deals with Chase Danieland Sam Bradford. The 2016 draft appears strong for defensive tackle types, providing Tennessee with options that could be more cost-effective than signing Cox to an expensive veteran deal.
The Titans arguably should get more for the top pick if the acquiring team stands to land a franchise quarterback, but with Marcus Mariota already on the Titans' roster, the pick does not represent a franchise quarterback as long as Tennessee is holding it. Cox would become the floor for the Titans' first-round selection. Dropping from first to eighth might not affect the ceiling, given historical miss rates. If the Titans could get more than just Cox and the eighth pick in return, good for them. But the trade as proposed could serve both teams well.
The Chiefs fared just fine without Charles last season and they could move him without incurring dead money against their salary cap. Charles turned 29 in December and is coming off knee surgery, so it's not clear how much he would command in a trade. A highly motivated Charles could carry appeal through 2017, the final year of a contract carrying base salaries of $2.75 million (2016) and $3.75 million (2017).
Charles' connection to new Eagles head coach Doug Pederson makes Philadelphia a logical trading partner following DeMarco Murray's departure from the roster. The Eagles also own two third-round choices, while the Chiefs lost theirs when the NFL handed down punishment for tampering with Jeremy Maclin. The Dolphins' unsuccessful effort to add restricted free agent C.J. Anderson from Denver showed the team was serious about adding a veteran back. For the Dolphins, parting with a draft choice this year might sting less with the knowledge that Miami stands to pick up a high compensatory choice next offseason after losing defensive end Olivier Vernon in free agency.