Let’s talk a bit more about the re-signing of Evan Mathis. This is a great thing for the Eagles for a variety of reasons.
1. Continuity. The most underrated factor in good O-lines is stability and continuity. The Houston Texans have probably had the best OL in football the last 2 years. Any great players on their OL? No. They function well as a unit. Don’t judge them as 5 individual parts, but rather as one group.
The Eagles OL last year was outstanding at times. The best way to get a repeat performance is to bring back the same players. Carl Nicks is more physically dominant than Mathis. David DeCastro has the potential to be a special OG. But the best fit for the Eagles is Mathis. That’s why the team focused on keeping him. Mathis knows how to play beside Jason Peters. Mathis knows how to play beside Jason Kelce. Mathis knows the playbook, the blocking system, and how to do exactly what the coaches want.
2. Versatility. Mathis has the size to play OT if needed. Should an injury occur to Peters or Herremans, Mathis could be asked to move. Todd could slide to LT and Mathis to RT, for example. Or if Todd gets hurt, Mathis could just go to that spot. He’s got the athleticism and size to play OT in this system. He’s also a veteran player who knows how to deal with complex NFL defenses and the crazy looks that people will throw at offenses.
3. Value. Some people have questioned if the Eagles overpaid for a “journeyman OG”. I don’t think so at all. Mathis was a star OL at Alabama. I seem to recall them having a decent football program. Mathis went to the Scouting Combine and had a great workout. The immediate response from some scouts was to wonder if he could play LT in the NFL. Mathis spent 3 years with the Carolina Panthers, starting 15 games in 2006. He then went to a dysfunctional Miami team for part of a year. Mathis left there for Cincinnati and was a Bengal until 2011. He’s not a journeyman in the sense of a guy who bounces from team to team. Bengals – 26 games. Panthers – 25 games. Dolphins – 7 games. Mathis problem was timing. A player must be on the right team at the right time to get a break. Was Bobbie Williams a bad player for the Eagles because he couldn’t beat out John Welbourn and Jermane Mayberry? No.
Mathis finally got the right breaks in Philly. He fit the system. He came here as a coach was installing a new system so no player had his job locked down, aside from LT Jason Peters. Newly signed RT Ryan Harris gets hurt. Herremans moves to that spot and suddenly Mathis is the starting LG. He didn’t just play “okay”. Mathis was outstanding.
The Eagles did want some protection in case Mathis isn’t able to sustain that level of play. They didn’t give him a lot of guaranteed money. Basically the deal works like this…as long as Mathis plays well, he gets paid well. If his level of play drops, the team can cut him and move on without it costing too much. This is fair to both sides. Mathis can’t sit back and count his money all day. He’s got to stay focused and play well. If he does play well, Mathis is worth every penny the Eagles gave him.
It is interesting to note that Mathis is 30 and just got a good deal from the Eagles. They will pay some older guys who have plenty of tread left on the tire.
* * * * *
To show just how impartial I am with Eagles players, I had prepared a scouting report on Mathis to share with Ravens fans had he signed with them. Here it is:
Strengths: Unborn children have never had to suffer from the atrocity that he calls blocking.
Weaknesses: Everything else.
Summary: Completely overrated player who will pull apart your soul, strand by strand, as you watch him miss assignments, get overpowered, and basically do nothing except consume oxygen. As a threat to humanity, he ranks 37th overall, just after flying monkeys and just before packs of rabid donkeys.
* * * * *
What’s up with Derek Landri?
DTs just started to move around this weekend. Jason Jones signed a 1-yer deal with Seattle. Kendall Langford signed with the Rams. Those guys will start. Landri is a backup DT. He had to wait his turn, but should start to get some attention in the next 7 to 10 days or so. My guess is that the Eagles are interested in keeping him, but Derek is looking for the best deal he can.
Back to Jason Jones for a second. Jeff McLane said on Twitter that the Eagles did talk to him about a deal. I’m sure the Eagles were curious about him, since Jones played so well for Jim Washburn in Tennessee. Jones got $4.5M with $500K in incentives from the Seahawks. That’s more than what the Eagles could offer. Here Jones would be a backup and you can’t pay those guys big bucks.
* * * * *
No word yet on King Dunlap. I’d be interested in bringing him back as the #3 OT. The Eagles might rather try to draft someone and then target a veteran OT after the draft, depending on how things work out.
* * * * *
Did you see how much Dallas is paying Kyle Orton in 2011? Check it out. Crazy.