Fletcher Cox showed up this week for the Eagles’ mandatory minicamp without a new long-term deal.
But will he show up to training camp in the summer without one?
“You know, I'm just hoping it gets done,” Pederson said before practice Tuesday. “Bottom line: let's get it done and let's get in here. And he wants to be here. He misses the guys. You can tell. He misses – and Darren [Sproles is] the same way. Anybody that's been in a locker room before understands what team is all about. These two guys miss the guys, and they want to be here, so I'm fully confident that something will be done before camp.”
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Cox, 25, released a statement late Tuesday morning, saying he was happy to be back with the team and wouldn’t answer questions about his time away during OTAs or his contract status. Apparently, Cox wasn’t interesting in answering questions at all. He didn’t show up in the locker room until reporters were being ushered out, so he was unavailable for comment, as was Darren Sproles, who also showed up to minicamp after missing the voluntary portion of OTAs (see story).
But Pederson was asked if he will try to convince Cox to come to camp in late July, even without a new contract, which is expected to be worth around $50-60 million guaranteed. That’s when Pederson said he’s hoping a deal gets done.
According to Pederson, Cox didn’t explain his absence from OTAs and the head coach didn’t ask him to.
While Cox was on the field for Tuesday afternoon’s lengthy practice, the Pro Bowl lineman was limited and didn’t participate in team drills. Pederson claimed that was his decision and not Cox’s or his agent’s. If Cox were to get hurt without a new contract, he would stand to lose a ton of money.
“He's coming back and we want him to be in the meetings, we want him to go through the walk-throughs and we want him to get as many mental reps this week as [he] can,” Pederson said. “We understand that not being here — I don't want to put him out there and risk injury. I mean, he's definitely a big part of this football team and now is not the time to see exactly what he can do, because he's proven that.”
Pederson, when asked, said he won’t be involved in any of Cox’s contract talks; he’ll leave that to vice president of football operations – and de facto general manager – Howie Roseman.
One of the defensive and team leaders, Malcolm Jenkins, said Cox’s teammates understand why he missed the voluntary portion of the offseason and generally understand when a player has to deal with something, like a contract dispute, away form the field.
“It’s good to have him back,” Jenkins said. “He seemed eager to get back to work and happy to be back around the fellas. It’s good to have him back in the locker room.”