With No New Deal In Place, Cox To Skip Minicamp

Darren Sproles is the only other Eagle expected to not attend this week's activities.

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

After skipping the first two weeks of the Eagles’ offseason program, Fletcher Cox is expected to also miss minicamp this week, according to Doug Pederson.

The head coach, however, said he didn’t mind because the activities are voluntary.

“I’m okay with Fletcher Cox not being here,” Pederson said. “Do we miss him? Yeah, we miss him and we’d love to have him around, but right now, he’s hopefully keeping himself in shape and getting ready to go. I’m excited to when I do finally get to work with him.”

Jason Peters didn’t attend an earlier portion of the offseason program, but he’s expected to participate this week. Outside of Cox, Darren Sproles, who is dealing with a personal matter, is the only player who will not attend minicamp this week.

Pederson said he doesn’t know if Cox is missing the workouts because of his contract situation, and Howie Roseman reportedly said the Eagles will not trade the Pro Bowl defensive lineman. Cox only has one year left on his rookie deal, but the Eagles could use the franchise tag on him to keep him on the team without agreeing to a new contract.

“The intention from our side is to keep him here for a long time,” Roseman said. “We’re very clear about that, but these things are complicated sometimes and they take time. Certainly, I’m of the school that you try to get something done as quickly as possible for everyone.”

Pederson and Roseman also discussed the draft at length, including the group of running backs and offensive linemen. Roseman said he disagreed with the belief that running backs have become significantly devalued in recent years, and that there’s “no question” Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is a complete back because his play when he doesn’t have the ball is “kind of rare.”

Roseman added that the Eagles do take into account the strength of future draft classes when making their selections, which could impact their evaluation of Elliott because next year’s group of running backs is expected to be very good.

“You talk about the elite guys and where they’re coming from, and they’re hard to find. It’s hard to find three-down backs, and so when you get a chance to look at someone like that, it changes the discussion,” Roseman said. “To have that complete back, it changes the dynamic of your roster.”

Pederson, meanwhile, confirmed that he has the same philosophy as Andy Reid on drafting offensive and defensive linemen early on. The Eagles’ new head coach emphasized the importance of depth, particularly for the offensive line, because it’s unusual for all five starters to play every game for an entire season.

Pederson added that he thinks Mississippi’s Laremy Tunsil is good enough to be the “clear-cut” No. 1 offensive tackle in the draft. However, he noted that Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley is versatile enough to play guard in the NFL if he needed to, and he praised Stanley’s length and athleticism. Roseman offered a similar evaluation.

“You talk about the length he possesses and the athleticism, he’s a really refined pass protector and it’s hard to find those guys,” Roseman said. “And he has experience playing on the left and the right side. Those guys usually don’t stay around too long on draft day.”