No. 5: Eagles' Fletcher Cox
When any player signs the kind of contract Cox did on June 14—a six-year, $103 million extension with $63 million in injury guarantees—the first logical question is, “Is he worth it?” When we set aside the salary cap increases that are expected to raise the price tag for elite players across all positions over the next few years, we’re left judging by what Cox does as a player in unique circumstances. He totaled 9.5 sacks and 77 total pressures in 2015. Cox played on the end in Philly’s 3–4 base defense, but he also lined up pretty frequently as a zero-tech nose tackle—straight over the head of the center—and used his impressive bull-rush and pocket speed to disrupt there as well. It is rare in today’s NFL to see a guy be this type of a wrecking ball as a two-gap player, and now that new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will move the Eagles back to a 4–3 base, Cox could really disrupt as a one-gap three-tech tackle and occasional sub-package end. So again, we’re back to the big question: Is he worth all that money? It’s a subjective question, but there are few interior players better than Cox in the league today.