3:15pm: Mathis’ one-year deal with the Cardinals, which can max out at $6,000,069, features a $2MM signing bonus, a $1MM guaranteed base salary, up to $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses, writes Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com, citing colleague Adam Caplan.
2:26pm: It didn’t take the Patriots long to find their replacement for defensive end Chandler Jones, as they struck a deal with Chris Long. Now, the other team involved in the Jones trade has found a replacement of its own. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Evan Mathis has agreed to one-year, $6MM deal with the Cardinals, who had a vacancy on their offensive line after sending Jonathan Cooper to New England.
We heard on Tuesday that the Cardinals had offered Mathis a two-year deal, but Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the veteran guard will earn more money by signing for one year.
It’s unlikely that the Cardinals had been offering less than $6MM for two years, so McLane presumably means that Mathis will make more money in 2016, with the opportunity to potentially sign a new deal a year from now. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports clarifies (via Twitter) that $6MM is the max value of Mathis’ new deal.
Despite the fact that he’s now 34 years old, Mathis continued to perform at a high level in 2015, serving as a key cog on the offensive line for the Super Bowl champion Broncos. Pro Football Focus ranked him third overall among guards in 2015, assigning him the best run-blocking grade of anyone at the position.
In the wake of Denver’s Super Bowl win, Mathis contemplated retirement, but he recently resumed working out with an eye toward continuing his career, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. According to Renck, the Broncos weren’t looking to re-sign Mathis. Meanwhile, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that Mathis owns a gym in Arizona, so his workouts figure to take place there going forward.
In Arizona, Mathis will join an offensive line that features another highly-touted guard, Mike Iupati. Jared Veldheer and D.J. Humphries are currently penciled in as the starting tackles, while there may be a handful of contenders for the center spot — Cooper had been expected to shift over from guard to compete for that job.
The Cardinals had been scheduled to bring in veteran guard Geoff Schwartz for a visit on Thursday, but with Mathis now in the mix, it seems Arizona is no longer a potential landing spot for Schwartz. “Well things change quickly in this league,” Schwartz tweeted after the Mathis news broke. “Staying put for now.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.