Today, a rather big transaction came down the pike, as former Eagles Pro Bowl OG Evan Mathis was released, as reported by Adam Schefter.
Eagles released Evan Mathis, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 11, 2015
This comes as the culmination of a year long standoff between Mathis and the team, which is basically owned and solely operated by head coach/GM Chip Kelly. Mathis wanted some more money on his deal, and the Eagles refused to up the ante. Mathis had not attended any voluntary workouts, but per CSN Philadelphia, he states that he was planning to make it to the mandatory minicamps which start next week for the Eagles.
"Yep. Flight was scheduled for Monday," he [Mathis] texted Mosher.
Mathis was scheduled to make 5.5 million dollars this year and 6 million in 2016.
In a somewhat curious circumstance of timing, the Jets released Mikey Mac's first signing, OT Sean Hooey, 20 minutes after the Mathis news was revealed. While certainly Hooey wasn't expected to be anything more than a camp body in 2015, or ever, it does open up a spot on the 90 man roster for the Jets to theoretically go after Mathis.
Mathis has been a top level performer in this league since finding his way to Philly in 2011. That year, he was Pro Football Focus's #1 ranked guard. He remained Pro Football Focus's #1 ranked guard in 2012 and 2013 as well. In 2014, with injuries limiting him to only 9 games, Mathis took a major tumble from being ranked #1 to being ranked #2 in the NFL. He remains one of the most mobile and nimble guards in the league, while also being a powerful run blocker and a more than capable pass protector.
Should the Jets be interested? Mathis is, by grading, by eye test, by expert analysis, one of the league's best guards, possibly THE best. He instantly adds major credibility to a Jets offensive line who is in dire need of quality offensive guards. He fits the Jets mantra of run the ball down their throats until their tired of it, then keep the QB clean while he throws strikes. For a team that is looking to win now, Mathis could be a huge addition.
There are, of course, some downsides. Mathis complained out of a contract that was paying him 5.5 mil this year and 6 million next year. He's likely looking for an amount higher than that, and the Jets have only about 5 million left in cap space. They would likely have to get a little creative with the contract, and I would assume Mathis wants a raise. Mathis is also 34 years old, and was the oldest projected starting offensive lineman this year. His shelf life probably isn't long and players that age could go at any second.
Me personally, I would be all over it. If it took 6 mil this year, so be it. I would be willing to chop Pace, Antonio Allen, and Nick Folk to create some cash. Mathis could be huge for this OLine and instantly makes this offense more potent. The guy is arguably the best in the league at what he does, and he's out there for the taking. What say you GGN, should the Jets go after Evan Mathis?