Rashean Mathis

AFC Notes: Taylor, Bolts, Browns, Jags, Steelers

Agent Adisa Bakari, frustrated that the Bills haven’t extended one of his clients – quarterback Tyrod Taylor – propped up the signal-caller Thursday and took shots at other facets of the club (Twitter link). Bakari told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Bills missed the playoffs last season because of a poor showing by their defense and a lack of discipline, not Taylor – whose performance Bakari referred to as “exceptional.” Bakari isn’t wrong – the Bills had a below-average defense and led the league in penalties in 2015, and Taylor was terrific statistically during his 14-game debut as a starter – but Buffalo doesn’t seem convinced he’s its long-term solution. Taylor is entering a contract year and the Bills have explored several QB prospects as the draft nears, so his chances of staying in their uniform for the long haul don’t look great at the moment.

More from the AFC…

  • The Chargers, who are set to pick third in the draft, are showing strong interest in Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was among the team’s representatives at Lynch’s pro day earlier this week, and the 6-foot-7 passer will visit the Bolts on Saturday, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter).
  • The Browns are streamlining their personnel department under the team’s new decision-makers, and have parted ways with six scouts whose contracts were set to expire, league sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While the move itself isn’t unusual, especially after a front office shakeup, the timing – less than three weeks before the draft, rather than after it – is interesting.
  • The Jaguars announced today in a press release that veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis, who confirmed his retirement earlier this offseason, will sign a one-day contract next Wednesday to officially retire as a Jaguar. There has been no indication that the Lions have removed Mathis from their reserve/retired list yet, so they’ll have to formally cut him loose before he can sign his ceremonial deal with Jacksonville.
  • The Steelers visited with four defensive prospects Friday, hosting Javon Hargrave (DL, South Carolina State), Quinton Jefferson (DL, Maryland), Dean Lowry (DL, Northwestern) and Trae Elston (DB, Ole Miss), according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter).
  • Two draft hopefuls from Boise State – receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes and defensive lineman Armond Nance – will attend the Texans’ pro day on Saturday, their respective agents told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Rashean Mathis Announces Retirement

MARCH 2: The Lions have officially placed Mathis on the reserve/retired list, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

FEBRUARY 16: Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is reportedly leaning toward retirement, and the team will also see a veteran starter on the other side of the ball call it a career. Detroit cornerback Rashean Mathis told Tori Petry of DetroitLions.com (video link) that he has decided to “hang up the cleats,” and his agent has since congratulated him on his NFL career (Twitter link).Rashean Mathis

[RELATED: Calvin Johnson likely to retire]

“I’ve been teetering on the fence the last few years,” Mathis said. “I wanted to finish healthy. I wanted to finish on a good note. It was a little sour, my last year in Jacksonville [since] I was coming off an ACL injury, and I think my last three years in Detroit have been amazing…. Being with [Jim] Caldwell for the last two years, I couldn’t ask for anything more to go off on a happy ending.”

Mathis, 35, entered the NFL in 2003 as the 39th overall pick out of Bethune-Cookman. The cornerback spent the first decade of his career with the Jaguars, earning his lone Pro Bowl nod and All-Pro spot in 2006 when he recorded a career-high eight interceptions and 21 passes defended.

Over the course of his 13-year career, Mathis appeared in a total of 175 regular-season games – including 137 for Jacksonville – and totaled 32 interceptions. Although Mathis’ final season with Detroit was cut short by concussion issues, he played a key role on the 2014 squad that earned a playoff berth.

Mathis’ contract with the Lions had featured a $500K roster bonus due to be paid in March, as well as a $1MM base salary for 2016. The team will no longer be on the hook for that money, but will still carry a $375K cap charge on its books for the veteran defensive back this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rashean Mathis Still Undecided Between Retirement, Lions Return

Cornerback Rashean Mathis is undecided on whether to retire or return to the Lions, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. Mathis, 35, says that the team’s coaching decision will factor into his own call on whether to continue playing. Rashean Mathis (vertical)

If I’m not here then I’m nowhere,” Mathis said. “[Coach Jim] Caldwell, definitely, that could be a deciding factor if I decide if I want to play or not.

Still, Mathis didn’t entirely rule out playing for another coach in Detroit besides Caldwell. The 35-year-old also doesn’t have a set timetable to make the call.

It’s all my head, meaning how I want to handle things,” Mathis said. “Not from a health standpoint, meaning me mentally. I’ve given a lot and a lot has been given to me and I feel like I have done the best I could with both. And if I walk away, I walk away with my head up. And if I stay, I give it 100 percent again. And that’s just how I handle things. But the game has been good to me and I feel I have impacted some lives in this locker room and other locker rooms so in that case, I probably beat the game because I’ve given back. I feel like I’ve wanted to give back more than I’ve got so I’m proud of that.”

A second round draft choice of the Jaguars in 2003, Mathis has logged 175 career games with 636 tackles, 32 interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries. The Lions signed Mathis in 2013 after he was released by Jacksonville following the 2012 season and he has become very close with his teammates and the organization. Mathis was placed on injured reserve with a concussion midway through the 2015 season but unselfishly shifted to a mentor role for cornerbacks Darius Slay – a budding star -and Nevin Lawson, who replaced him in the starting lineup.

One thing that won’t factor into Mathis’ decision is his concussion. Mathis says that he has had everything checked out thoroughly and believes that he is now 100% healthy in that regard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bengals, Lions, Mathis

Four years after the Bengals traded Carson Palmer, the veteran quarterback is thriving as the Cardinals’ starter. That might be a surprise to some, but not Bengals owner Mike Brown.

I have an odd feeling for Carson Palmer,” Brown told Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. “I like Carson Palmer personally. I did when he was here. I regret it broke apart the way it did. I don’t want him to beat us any more than he wants us to beat him. I’m sure that will be in the back of his mind. But other than that, I wish him well. I think he is a great passer. He really is. He’s a special passer, very accurate. I look at him play and I see the player that we had when he was here. When he’s on and playing the way he can play, he is a big-time winning quarterback.

Here’s more out of the North divisions:

  • Marvez also asked Brown about offensive coordinator Hue Jackson‘s candidacy as a head coach for next season. It sounds like Bengals owner is expecting the former Raiders head coach to field some interest. “Hue is a very qualified coach. We think the world of Hue…We’ve had (Jay) Gruden and (Mike) Zimmer leave, and I’m sure after this year Hue will be a candidate. It is a compliment to Marvin and maybe some others here as well. I like to see it when they achieve. It’s flattering when that happens. It works against our best interest because we have to regroup and reestablish ourselves but it’s also heartwarming to see your people achieve their ambitions,” Brown said.
  • After suffering what is at least the second concussion of his NFL career, Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis admitted to reporters today that he’ll take the injury into consideration when deciding whether to continue playing in 2016. “When something like this happens, as a professional, I’d be naïve not to think about those types of things,” Mathis said, per Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. “Like I said, there’s life after football and you have to think about those things. When that time comes a decision will be made.”
  • Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, who got his first extended look on offense last Sunday and caught four balls on seven targets, will be out for “several weeks” with a rib injury, tweets Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. It’s the latest injury for a group of Green Bay receivers that has been plagued by them all year.
  • The Bears will have until next Tuesday to make a decision on whether or not to activate rookie receiver Kevin White from the PUP list, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune explains. If the team determines White isn’t ready to be added to the 53-man roster, he’d have to be placed on season-ending IR.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Lions Place Rashean Mathis On IR

Due to a concussion sustained in Week 7 against the Vikings, Lions starting right cornerback Rashean Mathis will head to injured reserve, Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com reports.

Well-traveled sixth-year corner Crezdon Butler will take Mathis’ place on the Lions’ 53-man roster.

The 35-year-old’s started 36 games for the Lions since coming over from Jacksonville as a free agent in 2013. The Lions re-signed Mathis to a $3.5MM deal prior to this season, and per Twentyman, this setback places his future with the team — and probably the league — in question.

Mathis’ contract extends into 2016, but the veteran’s deal contains just $375K worth of dead money. The Lions would save $1.5MM by parting ways with the 13-year veteran.

The contract stipulates a $500K roster bonus will be due on the third day of the 2016 league year, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter) doesn’t expect the Lions to pay it.

Mathis, who’s snared 32 career interceptions since being selected in the second round of the 2003 draft, experienced consistent headaches since the injury, and Detroit opted to put him on IR after he spent time in the league’s concussion protocol.

The Lions started 2014 fourth-rounder Nevin Lawson in Mathis’ place in London two weeks ago.

Butler’s spent time with eight other teams since 2010, most recently seeing action with the Seahawks in Week 6.

NFC Notes: A. Smith, Hardy, R. Mathis

As we turn the calendar to June, let’s check out a few Monday morning items from across the NFC, starting with a contract update out of San Francisco….

  • After restructuring his contract earlier this offseason, 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith is in line for a $200K roster bonus today, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com.
  • Greg Hardy had a run-in with fellow defensive lineman Davon Coleman during a Cowboys’ practice in April, but the reviews on the former Panther have all been positive since then, writes Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. With players, coaches, and executives alike all praising Hardy, it doesn’t appear the Cowboys will have the same sort of buyers’ remorse the Bears did with Ray McDonald.
  • Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis has been telling people that his current two-year contract will likely be his last NFL deal, but that isn’t a sure thing — coaches have told him he could extend his career at safety, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links).
  • With June 1 having arrived, Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com takes a look at whether the time has come for the Cowboys to address Brandon Carr‘s contract.
  • In his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King of TheMMQB.com addresses the Adrian Peterson/Vikings standoff, the challenge that new Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is facing, and several other topics from around the league.
  • Panthers wideout and return man Philly Brown will go by his given name, Corey Brown, during his second year in Carolina, as Pat James of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Contract Details: Revis, Cromartie, Spiller

Here are a few notable details from some of the contracts signed by free agents within the last several days:

AFC deals:

  • Darrelle Revis, CB (Jets): Five years, $70MM base value. $39MM fully guaranteed. Options for 2018 and 2019 (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Antonio Cromartie, CB (Jets): Four years, $32MM base value. Can be worth up to $35MM (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
  • Marcus Gilchrist, S (Jets): Four years, $22MM base value. $3.5MM fully guaranteed. $3.125MM cap number in 2015 (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com).
  • Tramon Williams, CB (Browns): Three years, $21MM base value. $10MM fully guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2MM roster bonus due this month (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Scott Chandler, TE (Patriots): Two years, $5.3MM base value. $2MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald).
  • Christian Ponder, QB (Raiders): One year, $2.25MM base value. $1.5MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Bill Williamson of ESPN.com).

NFC deals:

  • C.J. Spiller, RB (Saints): Four years, $16MM. $7.3MM fully guaranteed. $2MM available in escalators. Voids after three years if Spiller makes it to two Pro Bowls (link via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
  • Rashean Mathis, CB (Lions): Two years, $3.5MM base value. $750K signing bonus (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Chykie Brown, S (Giants): Two years, $1.8MM base value. $200K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tyrunn Walker, DT (Lions): One year, $1.75MM base value. $550K signing bonus (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

Lions To Re-Sign Rashean Mathis

The Lions have agreed to re-sign cornerback Rashean Mathis, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter). It’ll be a two-year pact worth $3.5MM in total and he’ll earn $2MM in 2015.

Back in February, Lions GM Martin Mayhew said that he would like to retain Mathis for the 2015 season and praised Mathis’ “position versatility”. In 2014, Mathis started all 16 regular season games for the Lions, finishing with 54 total tackles, one interception for a touchdown, and two forced fumbles.

The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus (subscription required) placed him as the 12th best cornerback in the entire NFL last season with an overall score of 9.1. For reference, that posting put him ahead of such notables as Chris Culliver, Brandon Flowers, Aqib Talib, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Mathis earned the minimum salary last season but he’ll earn a paycheck that’s more in line with his performance in 2015. The veteran will celebrate his 35th birthday in August.

Lions Notes: RFAs, Suh, Jones, Prater, Mathis

The Lions have four free agents who are set to be either restricted or exclusive rights FAs this offseason, and general manager Martin Mayhew addressed the club’s plans for all four players today in a conversation with Detroit reporters. According to Mayhew, the Lions will tender RFA defensive end George Johnson a contract, but won’t tender offers to Kellen Moore and Josh Bynes, though the team would like to re-sign Moore at a lesser rate. As for the lone ERFA on the roster, Mayhew said that Jeremy Ross will return to the club for 2015 (Twitter links via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com).

Here are a few more Lions-related tidbits:

  • A league source told Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that the Lions are optimistic that they’ll be able to keep defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in Detroit. Of course, that has been the club’s public stance for some time now, but it sounds like the team is privately confident as well.
  • Defensive end Jason Jones, who will count for nearly $4MM against the cap in 2015, will return to the Lions and his contract won’t be adjusted, according to Mayhew (Twitter link via Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com).
  • Mayhew is meeting with the agent for prospective free agent Matt Prater tonight in Indianapolis and hopes to figure something out, as he believes Prater can be a Pro Bowl kicker (Twitter link via Twentyman).
  • The general manager added that he hopes to bring back cornerback Rashean Mathis for the 2015 season, and praised Mathis’ “position versatility” (Twitter link via Twentyman).

NFC Mailbags: Newton, Lions, McCarthy, Giants

We checked out ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now shift our focus to the NFC…

  • If quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco can average $20MM annually, David Newton believes Cam Newton could certainly be included in that group. Ultimately, the writer believes the Panthers quarterback will receive a contract totaling about $100MM.
  • Kicker Matt Prater and defensive back Rashean Mathis want to return to the Lions next season, according to Michael Rothstein. There has been some contact between the organization and the agents for the team’s multiple free agents, but the writer cautions that nothing’s been “locked down.”
  • Despite Mike McCarthy‘s interest in the personnel aspect of the league, the Packers head coach does not want to be the team’s general manager, writes Rob Demovsky. The writer says the coach’s recent shuffling of the coaching staff indicates that he’d like to get involved in other areas of coaching.
  • Dan Graziano doesn’t see any incentive for the Giants to pursue Ray Rice over any other running back.
  • Considering the linebacker’s age and injury history, John Keim can’t envision Washington investing too much money in Brian Orakpo. Meanwhile, the writer could see the team bringing back quarterback Colt McCoy, tight end Niles Paul, and “perhaps” running back Roy Helu and wideout Leonard Hankerson. Santana Moss is among the players Keim would be surprised to see return.