In 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles made DT Fletcher Cox the twelfth overall pick in the NFL Draft. Today, Cox became the highest paid non-QB in NFL history, according to guaranteed money. The contract extension worked about between the Eagles and the Pro Bowl defensive tackle is reported to be for six years and will be worth $103 million, $63 million of that total is guaranteed. That puts him behind just two players in league history, Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers.
Cox has been apart of one of the better defensive line crews since his arrival in Philadelphia. His stellar ability to stuff the run and disrupt the pass has allowed him and others, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton, to flourish. Even with the solid effort from Cox, I don’t believe anybody expected his pay day to be this crazy.
He has always been one of those players whose game never really showed up on the stat sheet. This is something that is extremely common with interior defensive linemen, as their importance is often overlooked. His specialization of forcing the quarterback out of the pocket allowed for others to pad their sack totals. This past season, Cox was able to capitalize in the passing game. He recorded 9.5 sacks, the most in his career by nearly double.
Teams are starting to realize the importance of the interior defensive linemen. This trend really took off with players like Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynesworth and has led towards the modern days of Ndamukong Suh and Fletcher Cox. I don’t expect to see any sort of dip in play, now that he has been paid. He will continue to grow and get better, as he enters the prime years of his career, and as he his looked on to help the transition into success for the Eagles franchise.
Also, players who have become tremendous talents in the NFL better start looking at these numbers as they get closer to free agency. Players like Von Miller, Jamie Collins, and Muhammad Wilkerson are going to be looking for top dollar on the free agent market. Their rightful teams need to make sure they can tie them down long-term.
- Mike Masala