The Jacksonville Jaguars will have a decision to make with cornerback Derek Cox at the conclusion of the 2012 NFL season. The Jaguars starting corner is set to hit unrestricted free agency, but there's going to be a question about how much the Jaguars should pay Cox.
Cox has been a good player the last two seasons for the Jaguars after struggling early in his career, even being benched at one point, but his career trajectory still appears to be going upward. The problem however, is he can't seem to stay on the football field.
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In his short career Cox has played all 16 games just once, his rookie season. After Sunday, Cox will have started just 18 games over the last two seasons out of a possible 32 because of injuries. Even this season Cox has been seemingly dinged up in almost every game he's been active for and has been a constant on the injury report.
While Cox is a good young player, it's tough to hand out a big deal to a player who's had trouble staying on the football field. The Jaguars could franchise tag Cox, but that will run the cost of a little over $10 million according to current projections of the franchise tag numbers.
It looks like your best bet is to tag Cox and have him "prove it" for a season that he can stay healthy, but you're still risking $10 million guaranteed for a guy with a history of injuries. Ultimately, Cox is a player the Jaguars need to try and keep going forward, but they'll have to figure out exactly how to work the financials with the risk.