Derek Cox of the Jacksonville Jaguars - Sam Greenwood
Derek Cox is a young cornerback whose biggest issue in his first four seasons has been staying healthy. Is he a player the Giants should look into when free agency begins in a week?
If the New York Giants look to free agency to supplement the cornerback position how about targeting a young, talented corner who probably has yet to reach his full potential after four seasons in the league? Derek Cox, 26, of the Jacksonville Jaguars fits that description.
Cox, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, has shown flashes of brilliance in Jacksonville. He has 12 interceptions and 32 passes defensed in 47 career games. In 2012 quarterbacks had a passer rating of 69.0 when targeting him. In 2011, that rating was a miniscule 44.5. For comparison, quarterbacks had a rating of 45.6 when targeting Darrelle Revis, acknowledged as the game's best corner.
So, why are the Jaguars apparently willing to let Cox hit the market? The problem has been health. Cox has not played a full slate of games since his 2009 rookie season. He has played 11, 6 and 12 games the past three seasons.
Derek Cox is a good corner who I think has the ability to be a top corner on a team, but as of right now would be best as a secondary corner until he can prove he stays healthy. He should be paid like that as well. He's dealt with a lot of soft tissue lingering injuries, so I'd be hesitant to give him a big deal given his games missed the past two years. His agent thinks there is going to be a big market for his services, but the best bet is to try to get him on a short-term "prove it" type deal.
NFL.com lists Cox 44th on its list of the top 85 free agents. "Cox struggles to stay healthy, but there's a lot of talent here. He makes a fine gamble," writes NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.
SB Nation's Randy Booth agrees with that assessment:
Cox would be somewhat of a gamble for any team this off-season. The fourth-year man out of William & Mary has missed a lot of time over the past three years (he started 16 games as a rookie), but he's a pure ball hawk. In 47 games he has 12 interceptions. If he can stay healthy, whoever signs him will be happy they did.
Cox's camp apparently expects a "vigorous" market for his services, as Big Cat Country's Crow indicated. Does it make sense for the Giants to at least check and see what the market -- and ultimately the price -- for Cox will be?
Your thoughts, Giants' fans?