Evan Mathis

Evan Mathis Retires

Although he hinted at a retirement on multiple occasions, Evan Mathis will make it official. The former All-Pro guard will step away from football after 12 seasons, telling Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer injuries helped bring an end to a lengthy career.

In an expansive interview, the 35-year-old Mathis said he planned for the 2016 season to be his last after going through an injury-plagued campaign with the Broncos in 2015. While he played through the maladies en route to having a standout season for the 2015 champions, finishing as Pro Football Focus’ top run-blocking guard, Mathis missed 12 games for the Cardinals this season.

I battled some serious injuries during the Super Bowl season. Winning it all made the sacrifice worth it but it really made me question if I wanted to go through all of it again,” Mathis said, via McLane. “I felt incredible during the first game with the Cardinals only to have someone fall on my foot and start a domino effect of injuries that led to my eventual demise in October. I also don’t want any more brain damage.”

A Panthers third-round pick in ’05, Mathis played for six NFL teams, earning All-Pro acclaim with the Eagles in 2013 and starting at left guard in Super Bowl 50 for the Broncos. Mathis started 93 games in his career, one that also included stops with the Bengals and Dolphins. He finished his career on one-year deals in Denver and Arizona, doing so after a financially shaped exit from Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Garoppolo, Cards, Packers

What would it take for the Patriots to trade Jimmy GaroppoloESPN.com’s Mike Sando (Insider sub. req’d) asked around the NFL to try and figure out where the QB’s market might be. “You get a first and a second in a heartbeat, but you ask for two firsts,” one executive said. “That is where the divide is. And the middle ground might be a first and two seconds. San Francisco got two seconds for Alex Smith, but he had already failed.” A better question might be: Would the Patriots trade Garoppolo?Given his strong play to start the season and Tom Brady‘s age, it’s possible that the Patriots would not entertain offers at all.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Cardinals GM Steve Keim told 98.7 FM in Arizona (Twitter link) that guard Evan Mathis could potentially return from IR this year. Of course, Mathis could only return after eight weeks on IR and the team can only activate one player from IR this year. That means that even if Mathis is healthy enough, the Cardinals might opt to promote a healthy Chris Johnson or Tyvon Branch instead. Mathis sustained a bad ankle injury against San Francisco on Thursday, prompting the team to put him on the shelf. Over the weekend, Mathis hinted that he is planning on retiring after the 2016 season, so it is possible that he has played his last down of football.
  • The Packers have been granted one-week roster exemptions for defensive tackle Mike Pennel and defensive back Demetri Goodson, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Pennel (substance abuse) and Goodson (PED) are both coming off four-games suspensions. The exemptions expire on Monday, so if Green Bay wants either of the two to play on Sunday, the club will have to make a transaction.
  • After promoting quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg to replace fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, the Ravens don’t plan to hire a new QBs coach, head coach John Harbaugh told reporters, including Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Instead, longtime coach Craig Ver Steeg — listed as a senior offensive assistant in the club’s media guide — will assist in quarterback meetings.
  • A botched hold cost the Chargers a chance at overtime on Sunday, and San Diego will “explore options” at holder, according to head coach Mike McCoy (Twitter link via Eric Williams of ESPN.com). Drew Kasar, the man who mishandled the snap in question, will remain the club’s punter, however.

Evan Mathis To Retire After Season?

Prior to signing a one-year pact with the Cardinals this offseason, guard Evan Mathis was contemplating retirement. He has enjoyed a long and successful career, he won a Super Bowl ring with the Broncos in 2015, and he has nothing left to prove. Ultimately, however, he decided to resume his career with Arizona.

Sep 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals guard Evan Mathis (69) against New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins (91) at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

But Mathis suffered an ankle injury during Thursday night’s win against San Francisco, and the team placed him on IR yesterday. Even if healthy, Mathis cannot be activated for at least eight games, and head coach Bruce Arians said earlier this week that the team is considering bringing either Chris Johnson or Tyvon Branch off IR. Of course, teams can only bring one player from IR back onto the active roster, so if Johnson or Branch were to return, Mathis could not come back.

As such, his career could be over. ESPN’s Adam Caplan asked Mathis about the possibility of playing next season, and Mathis replied, “I’m only going to play if someone lets me be a third down pass rusher” (Twitter link). Which means, obviously, that he does not currently plan on playing again.

Needless to say, a lot can change between now and the start of the 2017 season, but all of the reasons that made Mathis consider retirement earlier this year remain valid. The 34-year-old Alabama product has played in 134 regular season games since entering the league in 2005, starting 93 of them. He has been selected to two Pro Bowl squads and was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2013. After suiting up for the Panthers, Bengals, and Dolphins over the first half of his career, Mathis finally came into his own with the Eagles during his age-30 season and was a mainstay on Philadelphia’s offensive line from 2011-14. And, despite playing through various injuries for the Super Bowl champs last season, Mathis still graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 run-blocking guard. PFF ranked him as the ninth-best run-blocking guard this year before he succumbed to injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Cardinals Move Evan Mathis To IR

Injuries have interrupted Evan Mathis‘ Cardinals campaign at every turn, and the latest setback may end the veteran guard’s year. The Cardinals placed Mathis on IR due to the ankle injury he sustained against the 49ers on Thursday night, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com reports.

The Cardinals replaced Mathis on their roster by signing Ulrick John off the Dolphins’ practice squad, per Urban.

Already playing after suffering turf toe and a mid-foot sprain this season, Mathis went down late in the first half of Arizona’s Week 5 victory. He will be unable to return to the team for at least eight games, if the Cardinals determine Mathis a realistic candidate to come off IR. Earlier this week, Bruce Arians said the team is considering bringing either Chris Johnson or Tyvon Branch off the IR list. Both are recovering from hernia surgeries.

Teams can only bring one player from IR back onto the active roster.

The 34-year-old Mathis signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals this offseason, doing so after his one-year pact with the Broncos translated into him receiving a Super Bowl ring for his work as the 2015 champions’ starting left guard. The former Eagles first-team All-Pro graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 run-blocking guard last season despite playing through injuries.

Arizona is expected to start fourth-year blocker Earl Watford in Mathis’ right guard spot.

NFC West Notes: 49ers, Lynch, Cards, Mathis

49ers linebacker Aaron Lynch unsuccessfully attempted to appeal his four-game substance abuse policy, as he explained to reporters, including Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Lynch entered stage one of the NFL’s drug program via positive tests in college, and he maintains he failed his most recent test due to a “unreliable specimen” caused from drinking too much water, tweets Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. While he’ll be allowed to attend training camp, play in the preseason, and attend regular season team meetings, Lynch won’t be able to practice once the regular season begins, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.

Let’s take a look at more from the NFC West:

  • If he’s able to win another Super Bowl with the Cardinals in 2016, Evan Mathis says he’ll retire immediately, according to Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 (Twitter link). “Absolutely,” said Mathis, when asked if he’ll hang up his cleats. “Not even thinking twice.” Mathis, 34, won a title during his first (and only) season with the Broncos, and proceeded to join Arizona on a one-year, $4MM deal. The veteran guard can earn another $2MM via incentives.
  • The Cardinals could conceivably keep a third quarterback on the active roster, but that No. 3 QB will have to compete with a fourth tight end, fourth running back, or sixth wide receiver, head coach Bruce Arians told reporters, including Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. Arizona’s third signal-caller battle will come down to Matt Barkely and 2016 undrafted free agent Jake Coker, each of whom will compete to work behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.
  • Trent Baalke knew Tom Gamble‘s promotion to assistant general manager would invite more scrutiny as to who holds the power in the 49ers‘ front office, as Branch writes in a full piece. Gamble spent two seasons with Chip Kelly in Philadelphia in between two stints in San Francisco, so Gamble acquiring a stronger voice could make it appear as though Kelly is usurping control. “I don’t live in a cave,” Baalke said. “I think I understood exactly what was going to happen. And that should show you even more that I don’t care. In all honesty, (Gamble is) deserving of the position.”
  • Meanwhile, Baalke says the 49ers will carry over the nearly $50MM in cap space that they currently possess, and could use it on extensions for players like Eric Reid, Carlos Hyde, Jimmie Ward, and others. Maiocco has the details and Baalke’s full statements in a separate piece.

AFC West Rumors: Broncos, Berry, Chargers

Both Von Miller and Eric Berry are on track to sign long-term extensions with their respective teams by next Friday, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com writes.

The Broncos and Chiefs have tagged players for the second straight year, with Denver’s negotiation taking on a higher-profile tone as Kansas City’s unfolds quietly. Corry sees the Broncos structuring a Miller deal in the same way the Eagles constructed Fletcher Cox‘s extension as the compromise necessary to finish the deal.

Denver’s offer of six years and $114.5MM has reportedly satisfied Miller’s camp, but its $38.5MM in fully guaranteed money hasn’t. In Cox’s six-year, $103MM extension, the converting defensive tackle will see $55MM fully guaranteed by next March. The Broncos moving up a portion of Miller’s guaranteed money to vest at the same time and giving the two-time All-Pro approximately $58MM by March of 2017 should be enough to induce a signing, Corry writes, with the former agent not buying the linebacker’s threats to sit out the season since no franchise-tagged player has missed an entire year since Chiefs defensive lineman Dan Williams in 1998.

As for the Chiefs’ current franchise player, Berry should sign for around the same amount as Harrison Smith (five years, $51.5MM), Corry notes. The Chiefs, as they did for several of their recent contract extensions, will likely backload that deal as well. Kansas City is up against the 2016 cap, with $1.17MM in space, so a Berry signing would alleviate that burden somewhat. However, it would add to the Chiefs’ bevy of commitments come 2017 since they stand to possess barely $4MM in space without a Berry deal on the books.

Weigh in with your thoughts on who will and won’t sign long-term deals in PFR’s latest Community Tailgate.

Here’s more from the AFC West.

  • Denver’s impasse with Miller poses as unique since owner Pat Bowlen is not part of this negotiation, having been stricken with Alzheimer’s. This leaves the full decision up to John Elway, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Florio doubts Broncos president Joe Ellis will overrule Elway’s recommendations for the deal given the Denver GM’s track record. Elway called Miller over the weekend in an attempt to repair a relationship that’s taken some hits recently.
  • The Broncos’ decision to move on from Evan Mathis after one year stemmed from the former All-Pro guard’s age and condition, Troy Renck of the Denver post writes. Now a Cardinals cog on a one-year deal similar to the one he signed in Denver last August, Mathis battled an ankle injury in 2015 and partook in a three-guard rotation with Louis Vasquez and Max Garcia before returning to full-time status in the playoffs.
  • The Broncos will be more of a run-oriented team in 2016, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com writes. A reliance on either Mark Sanchez or Paxton Lynch at quarterback points to a greater emphasis on a ground game that enjoyed an inconsistent 2015 season. “I don’t think there’s a question what coach [Gary Kubiak] wants to do,” C.J. Anderson said recently, via Legwold. “All you have to do is look out there and see a fullback running around … I mean, we even drafted one. [Kubiak] wants to run the ball.” The Broncos drafted fullback Andy Janovich in the sixth round after being a one-back offense in a season spent shifting between styles in Peyton Manning‘s final year.
  • A poll conducted by Competitive Edge Research showed the Chargers‘ downtown stadium measure probably wouldn’t pass even if just 50% of the vote was needed, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets. A California State Supreme Court decision, though, currently would require the measure to receive a two-thirds majority to pass, stacking the odds against the Chargers. Cole tweets the team’s options could be remaining in Mission Valley or sharing a stadium with the Rams in Inglewood, adding the team prefers neither option. The NFL reporter said Tuesday the Chargers were looking at an Eastern Los Angeles site as well.

NFC Contract Details: Starks, Galette, Mathis

Here are several of the latest contract details on deals which were agreed upon or signed within the last week. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated.

NFC North:

  • James Starks, RB (Packers): Two years, $6MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $300K in annual per-game active roster bonuses. Up to $600K in annual Pro Bowl and rushing-yard incentives (Twitter link).
  • Andre Smith, T (Vikings): One year, $3.5MM. $500K of $2.5MM base salary guaranteed. $250K in per-game active roster bonuses. Up to $1MM in playing-time and Pro Bowl incentives (Twitter link).
  • Terence Newman, CB (Vikings): One year, $2.5MM. $1MM guaranteed. $250K in per-game active roster bonuses. Up to $500K in playing-time incentives (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Mitch Unrein, DL (Bears): Two years, $2.26MM. $500K guaranteed. $300K signing bonus. $200K roster bonus due April 1. $500K base escalator for 2017 (Twitter link).
  • Matt Asiata, RB (Vikings): One year, $840K. $60K signing bonus. Up to $500K in playing-time, rushing-yard, and catch incentives (Twitter link).
  • Marc Mariani, WR (Bears): One year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link).

NFC East:

  • Nolan Carroll, CB (Eagles): One year, $2.36MM. Can be worth up to $3MM. $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses. $600K for eight games active. Up to $640K in playing-time and Pro Bowl incentives (Twitter link).
  • Junior Galette, OLB (Washington): One year, $1.6MM. Can be worth up to $4.1MM. $1MM base salary. $500K in per-game active roster bonuses. Up to $2.5MM in playing-time, Pro Bowl, and sack incentives (Twitter link).
  • Will Blackmon, CB (Washington): Two years, $2.05MM. $150K signing bonus (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).
  • Josh LeRibeus, G/C (Washington): One year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link).

NFC West:

  • Evan Mathis, G (Cardinals): One year, $4MM. Can be worth up to $6MM. $3MM guaranteed. $2MM signing bonus. $1MM guaranteed base salary. $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses. Up to $2MM in playing-time, Pro Bowl, and All-NFL incentives (Twitter link).

Extra Points: Chancellor, Cardinals, Draft, Jets

Four-time Pro Bowl Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor hasn’t been shy about voicing his disenchantment with his current contract, going so far as to sit out all of last summer and then the first two games of the season in an effort to land a better one. Though that gambit backfired, he’s in no hurry to leave Seattle. Chancellor took to Instagram on Wednesday and posted a picture with the message: “I’m not going anywhere.” The 27-year-old also wrote, “Seattle is my Second home. I don’t plan on going anywhere unless some higher power places me elsewhere.” Chancellor has two years remaining on his deal.

More from around the NFL as we wrap up Wednesday…

  • The right side of the Cardinals’ offensive line will consist of newly signed Evan Mathis (guard) and D.J. Humphries (tackle), while A.Q. Shipley is the current starter at center, according to general manager Steve Keim (Twitter link via Darren Urban of the team’s website).
  • On the other side of the ball, newly acquired pass rusher Chandler Jones will shift from defensive end – where he played in New England – to outside linebacker for the Cardinals, per Keim. The deal to land Jones took about three days to execute, the GM added (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe). It’s worth mentioning that defensive ends cost more to franchise tag than linebackers ($15.701MM to $14.129MM this year), which could impact Jones – who will be a free agent next offseason.
  • Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple has lined up visits with more than 16 teams, including the Rams, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Jaguars, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings has met with the Buccaneers, Steelers, 49ers and Lions, he told James Palmer of NFL Network (Twitter link).
  • Receiver/returner Jordan Norwood will join linebacker Courtney Upshaw in visiting the Jets on Thursday, reports Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Norwood, 29, has played sporadically with three different teams since entering the league in 2009. He spent last season with the champion Broncos, amassing 22 receptions and 11 returns, and set the record for the longest Super Bowl punt return (61 yards).

Cardinals To Sign Evan Mathis

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.Evan Mathis

[RELATED: Cardinals acquire Chandler Jones from Patriots]

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.

Cardinals Offer Evan Mathis Two-Year Deal

The Cardinals have offered Evan Mathis a two-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Mathis visited Arizona today, right around the time that they traded offensive lineman Jonathan CooperEvan Mathis

The Cardinals probably felt a little extra comfortable parting with Cooper (and a second-round draft choice) in exchange for Chandler Jones knowing that they might be able to turn around and land one of the league’s biggest names on the interior offensive line.

The Broncos signed the two-time Pro Bowler last summer after the Eagles released him, and he ultimately started in 12 of 16 regular-season appearances. Mathis, 34, earned rave reviews for his performance from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which ranked him third out of 81 qualifying guards.

Mathis indicated last month that he would be open to playing for the Broncos in 2016 if he were to continue his career. Since then, we have yet to hear much about Denver’s interest in a reunion or anything definitive on Mathis’ NFL plans.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.