Mike Maccagnan confirmed today the Jets have had discussions with two-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis.
Maccagnan on FA G Evan Mathis: We've had talks with Evan's agent... We'll see how that develops.— Eric Allen (@eallenjets) August 1, 2015
You would expect the Jets to at least kick the tires given how unproven they are at right guard. Adding Mathis to the mix is arguably the difference between a question mark of an offensive line and an above average line. Mathis is still out there almost two months after his release. It seems like the money he wants isn't there. He might be getting to the point where he has to take a one year deal somewhere and then try to cash in next offseason.
I'm not sure how likely the Jets are as a destination. They already are spending the most salary cap space of any team in the league on the offensive line. How much can they give Mathis?
I think this situation comes down to one of the underrated parts of team-building, the ability to self-scout. The Jets do not have a proven answer at right guard, but they do have a few young players who could conceivably step up. Oday Aboushi might not have been a great starter a year ago, but he did improve a lot between years one and two. If he improves as much between years two and three, he would make a pretty good starter. Brent Qvale is a total blank slate. What can he bring to the table?
The Jets cannot know for sure, but they need to evaluate based on what they saw over the offseason and in the limited time of training camp this season. If they are not convinced somebody in house can fill the role, it makes sense for them to go hard after Mathis. If they think one of these guys can be effective, signing Mathis might be counterproductive as it can tie up cap space and block the development of a young player.
It isn't easy. You don't want to block a talented youngster, but you also don't want to overrate young talent. It didn't pan out when the Jets their cornerback situation didn't require a big ticket free agent due to the presence of Dee Milliner last season. That's why the GM's good at evaluation are so few.