Adding big names at one of the most important positions in the NFL these days via free agency is a difficult thing to achieve. No, I’m not talking about quarterback, but perhaps the second most significant spot at cornerback. In a league so geared toward the passing game, teams must have defenders on the field that can prevent those passes from being completed. The San Diego Chargers made a key acquisition in Derek Cox to solidify their secondary and try to keep up with the Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos’ anticipated aerial assault in the AFC West.
The deal for Cox is for four years, $20 million and seems like a relatively fair contract for both sides. It includes a $5.2 million signing bonus along with $10.25 in guaranteed money. In great business sense, General Manager Tom Telesco front-loaded all of the bonus money into the first two years to allow the team some flexibility in the final two years of the deal.
With Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer both on the free agent market, the Bolts have significant vacancies in their secondary for 2013. Adding Cox will soften the blow as they may have to rely on him and a training camp competition between Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright for the other starting corner position.
Cox is thought of as a solid corner throughout the league with 12 interceptions in his four years of service. He has had some injury issues in the past two seasons missing 10 games in 2011 and another four last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The William & Mary product is yet another low-key but highly effective upgrade for the Bolts who have been focusing on those types of moves thus far this offseason.
The secondary could see another addition as well in free agency, but Cox is likely to be the priciest signing that the Bolts make. They could attempt to find a corner in the NFL Draft as well slated to pick 11th overall next month, but the top corner in the class, Dee Milliner, figures to be gone by that point and no other player at the position seems worthy of that lofty draft status.
When the other name rumored to be on the Chargers’ radar, Jerraud Powers, signed with the Arizona Cardinals, the urgency to get a deal done with Cox escalated. The team has to be happy with the addition and excited to watch the 26 year old grow in their secondary. There is no doubt that Cox will help the cause in slowing down Manning and the Broncos now that Wes Welker has been added to their attack in the upcoming year.