The Eagles or Ravens – which team will Evan Mathis choose?
That is the question.
The answer could come as soon as this evening once Mathis lands in Arizona and heads home to mull over his choices.
The Ravens offered the free agent guard a contract, Mathis told reporters. The Eagles have extended their own “competitive” offer, according to an NFL source. It’s safe to say the offer was competitive or Mathis would have signed on the Ravens’ dotted line during his two-day trip to Baltimore rather than hop on a flight home.
The Eagles don’t have a general sense which way Mathis is leaning, according to a source. Mathis said only last week that his preference was to remain an Eagle.
But it’s never that simple. The 30-year old is obviously looking to strike when the iron is hot. He bounced around the league for most of his seven seasons, but had an impressive 2011 under the tutelage of Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd.
For Mathis, the decision may ultimately come down to Mudd. Does Mathis believe he can be just as effective in any system or does he think he needs Mudd to maximize his abilities? Mathis deserves much of the credit for his performance last season, though. He devoted himself to re-sculpting his body last off-season and was considered one of the hardest workers on the Eagles offensive line.
The unit was cohesive by the end of the season and perhaps the best group of linemen Eagles coach Andy Reid has ever had. The Eagles don’t want to break up the unit, but they may not be willing to match the Ravens’ offer for what is generally considered one of less important positions on the line.
Jonathan Tamari takes a closer look at the risks in letting Mathis walk.