Extra Points: Eagles release Cox, welcome Reddick
Fletcher Cox's decade-long tenure with the Eagles could be over.
The Eagles released the veteran defensive tackle on Thursday afternoon, but the team is holding out hope of bringing him back at a reduced salary.
According to NFL.com, ESPN.com and Philly Voice, $18 million of Cox's contract would have become guaranteed at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Eagles released him with a post-June 1 designation, which enables the team to save $16 million with the move.
Cox, 31, had become the subject of trade rumors in recent days and were reportedly looking for a second- or third-round draft pick in return.
They could wind up re-signing him at a reduced rate, but he is also free to pursue opportunities with other teams. Arizona, Baltimore, NFC East-rival Dallas, Denver and Kansas City have all been mentioned as potential landing spots.
"Come on out to the desert big dog," former Eagles and current Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz wrote on Twitter.
Cox joined the Eagles as their first-round draft pick in 2012 - coach Andy Reid's final season with the Eagles - and quickly developed into an elite player. The 6-foot-4, 298-pounder was selected the NFL's All Decade Team for the 2010s, along with other defensive tackles Geno Atkins, Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.
During his career, he's made six Pro Bowls and been named to four All Pro teams. Only four players - center/linebacker Chuck Bednarik (eight), safety Brian Dawkins (seven), tackle Jason Peters (seven), defensive end Reggie White (seven) - reached more Pro Bowls as Eagles.
Cox currently has 58 career sacks, which leads all Eagles defensive tackles and ranks fifth in franchise history behind White (125), defensive end Trent Cole (85.5), defensive end Clyde Simmons (76) and defensive end Brandon Graham (59).
After notching a career-high 10.5 sacks in 2018, however, Cox's production has dropped off. He had 13.5 total sacks in the last three seasons, including 3.5 in 2019 and 2021, respectively. But even if he's no longer a dominant player, he's still better than what the Eagles currently have on the defensive line, aside from Javon Hargrave. His departure leaves Hargrave, who had 7.5 sacks last season, and promising second-year player Milton Williams as their top two interior linemen.
The Eagles will presumably go after one in the draft. Georgia's Jordan Davis, 6-6 and 330 pounds, is considered the top prospect.
Cox's exit coincided with the arrival of edge rusher/linebacker Haason Reddick in Philly.
Reddick, a Haddon Heights High School graduate and former walk-on at Temple University, formally signed a three-year, $45 million contract Thursday.
Arizona drafted Reddick with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft, one spot before the Eagles took defensive end Derek Barnett. Reddick posted 23.5 total sacks in the last two seasons with the Cardinals (12.5 in 2020) and Carolina (11 in 2021).
"I don't think the story could have been written any better," Riddick said at the NovaCare Complex Thursday. "To play in Philadelphia, 15 minutes away from Jersey across the bridge. To be able to get drafted in Philadelphia, but you know I missed the Eagles by one pick. Now to have this thing come full circle and now had a chance to come play back here. This is wonderful."
Cox was one of three current Eagles who had been with the team for at least 10 seasons, joining Graham and center Jason Kelce. Graham is entering his 13th season in Philly while Kelce recently announced he'll be returning for his 12th.
Kelce, who has been hinting at retirement for the past few seasons, decided to come back after receiving a keg of beer from Eagles coach Nick Sirriani. Sirriani also called in to 94.1 WIP sports radio last week during Kelce's stint as a guest host as "Nick from South Philly."
The next day, Kelce tapped the keg while announcing he's coming back on Twitter.
"I'm definitely not retiring from playing for the Philadelphia Eagles," he said while foam dripped from his beard. "I'm having way too much fun doing that."