The LA Chargers signed Morgan Fox to a cheap one-year contract during the 2021 offseason to reunite him with head coach Brandon Staley. Fox and Staley spent time together on the LA Rams before Staley became the head coach of the Chargers.
At the time, Fox was brought in as competition to be the pass-rushing specialist inside versus Jerry Tillery. The team brought in run-stuffing interior defensive linemen and needed more pass-rush depth, especially with Tillery not living up to expectations.
What ended up happening was Fox played Tillery out the building (literally), putting together 40 pressures and seven quarterback sacks, per Pro Football Focus. For an rotational interior rusher, that is fantastic.
Meanwhile, Tillery went and joined the Las Vegas Raiders and literally killed their playoff chances with a horrible penalty against the Rams. That didn't stop the Raiders from actually paying Tillery this offseason, though, as they sold themselves on the former first-round pick and re-signed him to a two-year deal.
Fox has also re-signed with the Chargers and now that the contract details are out, fans can get an even harder chuckle at the Raiders' expense.
Chargers get Morgan Fox at a steal, make Raiders look silly for paying Jerry Tillery
That is incredible value for someone who was extremely valuable to the Chargers' defensive resurgence late in the 2022 season. It is also incredible value when you compare it to what Tillery got from the Raiders.
Tillery got two years at $6.74 million. Fox only got half a million more than Tillery despite being twice as productive (literally) as the former first-round pick. Not only that, but Fox actually has a smaller cap hit than Tillery has in 2023 as well.
On paper, it might seem impossible that the Raiders would evaluate Tillery at a similar level as Fox. There are two things in play here that likely led to this happening.
First, Tillery is a former first-round pick and that alone carries some market value. Even if the player has given a team every reason to not buy in, NFL teams will often pay for these former first-round picks with the hope that they can unlock some potential that has not been tapped into before.
Second, there is a decent chance that Fox might've just wanted to return to LA and gave the Bolts a team-friendly deal. It is unclear how many teams were in on Fox or what kind of offers he was receiving but it would be shocking if he did not get a deal that was worth more than this.
Combine those two factors and you get a situation where the Raiders are paying more for the guy who Morgan Fox kicked out of town last season.