Eagles Mailbag: Cox’s Contract, Starting Corners

How worried should Eagles fans be about Fletcher Cox?

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

For your mailbag question to be considered, complete the form at the bottom of this post.

I’m sure it’s not top on the list of what’s most important right now, but please tell me there’s absolutely nothing to worry about regarding a deal for Fletcher Cox? The radio silence from him is concerning to me and I know how much of an impact player he can be. Is there any reported progress towards a resolution between him and the Eagles front office? -Eagles 1018

There’s not much new to report here, but this is (unsurprisingly) the most frequent question we get. I wouldn’t worry about anything unless Fletcher Cox decides to skip the June 7-9 mandatory minicamp. It’s possible Cox doesn’t show up, but there’s no clear indication one way or the other right now. If he does miss it, the Eagles can fine him $76,580, according to former agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry.

You and I would show up to three days of work to make that kind of money, but Cox will receive $7.799 million this year, so it’s not exactly a big financial incentive for him. Cox wants to be in Philadelphia for a long time, and the Eagles want him to stay, so even amid him skipping all of the voluntary workouts, I wouldn’t worry too much for now.

Before camp started, I penciled in Eric Rowe and Nolan Carroll, knowing I’d probably erase that and re-write it several times throughout the offseason. I think this is the most interesting position battle on the team, and Rowe, Carroll and Leodis McKelvin all have legitimate shots to earn the two outside starting jobs.

We’ve only seen two practices, and Carroll has been limited because of his rehab process, but I’ll put McKelvin opposite of Rowe for now. McKelvin has stood out because of his physicality, competitiveness and coverage, and I just like his game so far. Part of the reason he looks better than a lot of other people is because of his experience in Buffalo under Jim Schwartz, but that will help him for months to come, not just now.

Here’s what Schwartz said about McKelvin on Tuesday: “The year I had him he was playing at a really high level before he got hurt. He broke his ankle against Miami, and really was playing at a high level. He’s not the tallest guy around, but he can jump, he can play the ball in the air. Mentally and physically tough. I don’t know if you see that just seeing his body shape, but he’ll go throw his body around and hit. He was a first-round draft pick. He’s played at a high level in this league.”

Who will be the best at the running back spot? -Michael D.

Here’s how I’d rank each person’s production for the 2016 season:

  1. Ryan Mathews
  2. Wendell Smallwood
  3. Darren Sproles

I’m not sure if Kenjon Barner makes the roster, assuming Sproles comes back and everything is fine with him. Barner made the roster last year because of his stellar special teams play in the preseason, but Doug Pederson may want to have just three running backs on the 53-man roster, with an alternative or two on the practice squad.

Mathews may not stay healthy for an entire season, but if he gives you 12 or 13 games with production anywhere close to last year’s, no one else will top that. I think Pederson will do a better job than Chip Kelly with getting Sproles involved in the passing game out of the backfield, but will that be enough to supplant Smallwood as the No. 2?

This is what Pederson said about Smallwood after the first OTA: “Here is a guy I think can be explosive, has shown some explosiveness. I really like the fact how he catches the football out of the backfield. I think that is something that is just a gift that he has. He’s a natural, a natural pass catcher. I like that part of him. Pretty good vision. Again, he’s another one of those rookies that’s learning the game. I think today was a good lesson for him to be out there exposed to the bigger picture of everything. But I really like where he’s headed and the direction we can take him.”

Any chance they’ll be doing joint practices this year? -Frank H.


Here’s what Pederson said about this back at the owners meetings: “I’m interested in it. I think this first year, though, I would stay away from it. Just from the fact of being the first year, let’s get it done right the first time and let’s have our first training camp under our belt. That’s where I’m leaning right now; I’m not opposed to doing something, but I think as you go, it is good to get with other teams. It’s a break for your players and it’s an opportunity to go against somebody else when you’re in those dog days of training camp.”