What is up with Evan Mathis, the current flavor of the week (sorry, Jake Long) among New York Giants fans hoping to see the team bring in a veteran player to, theoretically, upgrade the talent on their offensive line? Let's check the Mathis rumor mill and see what is happening with the former Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl guard.
One thing has become abundantly clear in the days since Mathis sent packing by the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Giants, or any team for that matter, want Mathis he is not going to be easy to get.
Mathis will have plenty of options. Mathis' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said during a recent radio interview that there are "at least half a dozen teams interested in Mathis.
"Now it's wide open and there's a lot of interest in Evan," Drew Rosenhaus said on the Joe Rose Show. "Between now and the start of training camp I definitely expect him to have a new home. I think we'll be methodical. We won't necessarily rush into signing immediately.
"Clearly Evan is one of, if not the top overall free agent right now that would be available in the NFL."
Mathis, especially with Rosenhaus pulling the financial strings, will expect to be paid handsomely. The 33-year-old was set to make $5.5 million from the Eagles and wanted more after making the Pro Bowl the past two seasons. That, ultimately, led to his release from Philly. And it probably is just a starting point for negotiations to sign Mathis.
The Giants are one of the teams considered to be a logical destination for Mathis, especially if the Giants are willing to slide Justin Pugh from left guard back out to the right tackle spot he played the past two seasons. Here is Conor Orr of NFL.com on the possibility of Mathis to the Giants:
Mathis held out of workouts due to a contract dispute and is the latest in a long line of players to defect from Chip Kelly island with a bit of an attitude. Is there a better place for him to go than a division rival that desperately needs help along their offensive line?
The Giants, who have lost left tackle Will Beatty for the foreseeable future, are now depending on rookie Ereck Flowers to hold down the position. Signing Mathis would at least give them an immediate-assistance option to Flowers' inside, or he could give them the flexibility of moving guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz to tackle. Mathis, a zone blocking specialist, would feel relatively at home in a scheme not unlike the one he used to run with Andy Reid. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo brought many zone principles with him from Green Bay.
Per Spotrac, the Giants currently have $7.082 million in salary cap space. They have room to get something done with Mathis. Will they want to, especially if the price tag ends up being $6 million or more? Jordan Ranaan of NJ Advance Media is probably correct when he says no:
The Giants aren't going there. Almost every move they've made over the past two years has given them financial flexibility moving forward. There are only a handful of players they're truly committed to for more than this season. They are not going to lock themselves into multiple years at a hefty price with Mathis, who will turn 34 during the 2015 season and was a journeyman before joining the Eagles.
No doubt it is worth the Giants' time to check in on Mathis and see what the price tag actually is. If it is as exorbitant as it is expected to be, however, don't be the least bit surprised if the Giants pass.