What would a Fletcher Cox trade look like?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 13: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Tackle Fletcher Cox (91) heads to the locker room before the game between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles on December 13, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

As free agency draws closer and closer, the NFL rumor mill picks up speed. Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t taken long for the Fletcher Cox trade discussions to rise from the ashes.

Fletcher Cox on the block again

Cox had his name dangled on the trade block at the NFL trade deadline by unsurprisingly, there weren’t many takers despite numerous teams being interested. From a statistical perspective, Cox had one of his weakest seasons yet, but his cap-hit was easily one of the highest and even a restructure wasn’t going to change that.

Going into 2022, the Eagles had paid Javon Hargave DT1 money and have seen real flashes of greatness from rookie Milton Williams. Cox, who is on the books for $14.9M this year, is going to be 32-years-old once the new season starts and with his production gradually declining, it’s becoming harder and harder to justify such a hefty cap-hit.

The issue facing interested teams is purely a financial one. If the Eagles trade Cox before June 1st, it will cost the team $40M in dead cap space. Ouch.

Any move would have to be made after that date, or at least with a post 6/1 designation. With that in mind, the NFL Draft is going to come beforehand and give teams plenty of opportunities to explore alternative options, be that through the draft itself, trades surrounding it, or even the free-agent market.

The Eagles could ask Cox to restructure, but it would be the 89th time they’ve asked him to do this and wouldn’t really be fair on a player who has given so much to the team since being drafted ten years ago. With that in mind, we should expect the market to be relatively quiet until June arrives and interested teams can start snooping knowing that the Eagles can offload him much easier.

As far as teams who would be a fit for Fletch, Pro Football Network’s Mike Kaye mentioned that the Pittsburgh Steelers were interested at the deadline last year, and that he’d expect the compensation to be a mid-round pick.

Atlanta would’ve been a perfect fit had Calvin Ridley not opened a DraftKings account, but teams like Baltimore, Kansas City, and even Las Vegas would give him an opportunity to compete for a conference championship at the very least.

When all is said and done, this market is going to remain dormant until June, barring a post 6/1 designated trade. But with so much being likely to change between now and then, it’s really impossible to speculate on how this will play out.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire