We’re still a few months away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. Today, we’re launching a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every day, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.
Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.
Today’s discussion will center on the NFL’s hottest free agent, guard Evan Mathis. Mathis, of course, was embroiled in an ugly battle with the Eagles over his contract situation. For much of the offseason, it seemed as though Mathis was simply looking to renegotiate the terms of his deal, which called for him to earn $13.5MM between 2015 and 2016. Last week, however, a new wrinkle in the saga emerged: Mathis claimed that former GM Howie Roseman offered to bump up his salary in 2014. When Mathis told the Eagles in 2015 that he was ready to take them up on that pitch, he was informed that the coupon had effectively expired since Roseman was no longer in the GM role. Ultimately, despite talk of trade interest for the last few months, the Eagles decided it was in their best interest to release Mathis outright.
The move was surprising since Mathis is considered one of the league’s best interior linemen. In 2014, despite playing just 608 offensive snaps, the former third-round pick ranked as the league’s best left guard, performing particularly well as a run blocker, according to Pro Football Focus’ data (subscription required). PFF had previously graded Mathis as the NFL’s No. 1 guard in 2011, 2012, and 2013. While his age and salary ostensibly scared teams off from giving up value for him, he can be expected to find a number of interested suitors now that he won’t require the forfeiture of a draft pick.
The Bills, Vikings, Dolphins, Rams, and Patriots were among the teams said to have varying levels of trade interest in him. The Colts, Giants, and Cardinals apparently won’t make a play for Mathis, but agent Drew Rosenhaus said over the weekend that he heard from at least six teams with interest in his client. The Jets could use some help on the interior of their offensive line and Mathis probably wouldn’t have to relocate if he signs with them.
We want to hear from you, the PFR reader: Where do you think Evan Mathis will sign? Head to the comments section below to place your bets and voice your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.