Restructuring Fletcher Cox’s contract could help Eagles add weapon — perhaps LeSean McCoy? — or keep veterans
The team needed to create cap room anyway to re-sign pending free agents, but timing creates speculation.
It is unclear what the Eagles intend to do with the 2018 and 2019 salary-cap space they reportedly have created by restructuring Fletcher Cox's contract. It seems to be coincidence that the ESPN report of the team's moving money around to create $6.5 million of cap room this year and $11.7 million next year came out right around the time Monday that the Eagles put their top running back, Jay Ajayi, on injured reserve because of a torn ACL.
In fact, the ESPN report said the restructuring was done Friday, and it also cited a league source as saying the team does not intend to pursue a trade for estranged Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.
But even if management wasn't clairvoyant and didn't rework Cox's deal because it thought something would happen to Ajayi, it's a fact that the current Eagles offense lacks weapons and that you create room for a reason. That reason could be to add a significant piece, presumably at running back or wide receiver, before the Oct. 30 trade deadline. A report from a CBS radio station in Buffalo said the Eagles had asked about reacquiring LeSean McCoy, the Eagles' all-time leading rusher, who was sent to Buffalo by Chip Kelly in 2015. McCoy, in his 10th NFL season, has an $8,950,000 cap number this season that goes up to $9,050,000 next season, the final year of his current deal, which of course could be reworked if he were so inclined.
It also is a fact that the Eagles' obligations project them to be way over what the 2019 cap is supposed to be, even before the matter of signing quarterback Carson Wentz to a pricey long-term deal is addressed. They would need cap room now if they wanted to extend Brandon Graham, Ronald Darby or Jordan Hicks, each of whom has an expiring contract.
According to Spotrac.com, the Eagles had a little more than $11 million in 2018 cap space before the move with Cox, who had an $11,348,000 cap number. Spotrac projects the Eagles as being about $5 million over the estimated 2019 cap right now, but that figure includes a $20 million cap charge for backup quarterback Nick Foles, who is unlikely to be on the roster, and extremely unlikely to be on the roster at that figure.
Cox's agent, Todd France, said by text that he had not seen the ESPN report.
"My agent handled that. We're happy with it. Whatever went on," said Cox, who indicated he did not know the details of the reworking. "I just gotta continue to do my role. Being a good teammate, be a good leader, and do whatever I can to help this team win."