I happened to be seated next to Evan Mathis. Who is that you ask? Great question. Evan Mathis is currently the best guard free agent available. Before free agency signings, he was third best, behind Carl Nicks who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ben Grubbs who signed with the New Orleans Saints.
On a five hour flight, we chatted some, and I learned a few things. First among them is that while I complain about being 6' and 200#, and stuffing into an airplane seat, I'm glad I'm not 6'5 and 302# trying the same feat.
Hit the jump to read what else I learned.
He was in Baltimore on business. Obviously. Although the weather is surprisingly warm in Baltimore and spring was early. But I digress. He was there on business, meeting with the Baltimore Raven's organization. They made him an offer. This is important, and you'll see why as I connect the strings.
Carl Nicks - Top free agent guard, signed from New Orleans Saints to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 5 years $47.5 million. $31 million guaranteed, no signing bonus.
Ben Grubbs - Second free agent guard, signed from the Baltimore Ravens to the New Orleans Saints. 5 years $36 million. $16 million guaranteed, $10 million signing bonus.
Evan Mathis - Third free agent guard, being wood by the Baltimore Ravens and his current team, the Philadelphia Eagles. He has an offer from the Ravens, and I'm sure Philly is countering. I've seen reports the Washington Redskins were in the picture.
Now the important part. He lives in Arizona. He trains with members of the Arizona Cardinals. He's available. The Cards are in need of talent on the O-line. Adam Snyder isn't the answer, unless the question is "Who is a backup player?" If he was the answer, the San Francisco 49ers would have re-signed him. Speaking of the 49ers, they are in need of a guard. And to keep it in the division, the Seattle Seahawks jettisoned Robert Gallery, and could use an upgrade.
In quoting Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Enquirer, "Mathis, by most estimates, had a Pro Bowl-worthy season in 2011. He arrived during training camp a virtual unknown but ended up being an integral part of one of the Eagles' stronger offensive lines."
I also learned that he's a Marketing Major from the University of Alabama. He has a gym in Arizona. He's articulate and well thought out. He doesn't come with drama. And most importantly, he's available.
The Cardinals are a few pieces away from being contenders. A key part of that is keeping whoever the QB is on their feet and free of injury. Signing Mathis would be a big step towards that. The Raven's want him, they are a playoff team. If he's good enough the Raven's want to play ball, the Cards should be in the picture.
Evan Mathis - Third free agent guard, signed from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Arizona Cardinals. 5 years $27 million. $12 million guaranteed, $8 million signing bonus.
Quality product makes you money. Your product is winning games. Get this done front office, before someone else improves the quality of their product at Arizona's expense.