When a big-name player at a premium position gets cut during the offseason or during training camp, it brings back the familiar rush of free agency where more than a dozen teams take a good look at a veteran that can make their team significantly better.
With more importance being placed on interior offensive line strength over the years, Mathis will almost certainly be keeping his cell phone carrier busy.
Here are a few destinations the Around The NFL crew thinks make some sense:
New York 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. –Conor Orr
Mathis isn’t a power-blocking mauler. His game is best suited for a zone-blocking scheme, which limits the pool of suitors. The Seahawks run a highly effective zone attack, have roughly $10 million in available cap space and need veteran help on the interior after trading center Max Unger and losing guard James Carpenter to the Jets. Why not sign with a Super Bowl contender to close out his career? — Chris Wesseling
Evan Mathis is a large, beefy man now wandering the streets as a free agent. Teams will show interest in the Pro Bowl guard, but it would be wise for the veteran to seek out the right scheme fit. A zone-blocking team like the Broncos makes plenty of sense.
Denver currently has former practice-squader Ben Garland penciled in at left guard ahead of underwhelming veteran Shelley Smith and rookie Max Garcia. With left tackle Ryan Clady out for the year, right guard Louis Vasquez looms as the only veteran holdover from last season. Coach Gary Kubiak should give serious consideration to Mathis, who thrived in Philly’s zone-based scheme and would help shore up what looms as the worst line Peyton Manning has played behind in ages. — Marc Sessler
Evan Mathis wanted this outcome. He wanted a raise from the Eagles more, but learned quickly that Chip Kelly wasn’t going to give him that. So he wanted out of Philadelphia so that he could get his fair value elsewhere. It’s a risky proposition.
Mathis was due $5.5 million in 2014 and that will be a difficult salary to find at this stage of the offseason. So what team has enough cap space and desperation to pay the oldest projected starting guard in the league that kind of money? Look to Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie! Mathis will be driven to get top dollar, and the Raiders are a logical team to pay it. I look at this Mathis contract as an experiment to see how much a ProFootball Focus ranking is worth. The analytics website has essentially put Mathis’ play at a Hall of Fame level since 2011. We’ll see if McKenzie agrees. — Gregg Rosenthal
The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington to discuss minicamp stories and Conor Orr calls in for the debut of the new segment, “Orr you kidding me?” Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.