The Eagles designed Fletcher Cox a June 1 cut today and I want to explain how I believe his contract works on the salary cap. Cox restructured his deal last year in what was one of the more complex contracts Ive seen in the NFL, since at least the days of the old rookie system. The Eagles essentially maximized their options with Cox by giving them an out on a massive contract while also maintaining their ability to extend or trade him without having a salary cap disaster.
What the team did was convert a bunch of Cox’ 2021 and 2022 salary into two bonuses that would prorate on the salary cap. In return Cox also got a large guarantee on his 2022 compensation that would kick in tomorrow in essence forcing the Eagles to make a move in early March rather than dragging him into the summer and then cutting him late if he refused a pay cut. The 2022 bonus, which is factored into his 2022 cap charge and dead money you see on OTC, was an option that did not have to be picked up until much later this year.
For the time being Cox’ 2022 salary cap charge will remain the same as if he was on the roster. I believe that the number is $14,946,820. On June 2nd the only salary cap charge that will remain with the Eagles is the prorated portion of Cox’ salary. I am not 100% sure what that will be. It will either be $12,826,820 or $9,641,409. The difference is the option proration for the option that was not exercised. I can never pinpoint the NFL’s treatment of this. In many cases the credit usually comes the following year but this may be more unique with a June 1. In any event if it is the larger number they will get a cap credit of $3,185,411 in 2023.
For 2023 the dead money should now be $15,359,292. The reason this is much lower than what is shown on OTC is because the option was not exercised and we are in a different league year than when the player was cut. So all that acceleration that is attributable to the bonus should now be gone.
The new contract gave the Eagles plenty of flexibility with Cox. Originally Cox would have counted for $23.88 million on the 2022 salary cap with over $20 million in dead money if cut. With such a high salary the June 1 possibility likely did not exist because they would have had to carry him on the 2022 salary cap at that high figure. Basically this allowed them to drop his 2021 and 2022 salary cap numbers and push the charges out to 2023 which never could have happened on the original contract.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.