With the NFL lockout soon coming to its conclusion, free agency is going to begin. Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on players that perhaps the Cardinals should be targeting in free agency to improve the team. However, other than Kevin Kolb who reportedly would love to be traded here, there has not been much in the way of free agents expressing an interest to come here to play. (In fact, there has been little talk of players reportedly wanting to go anywhere with all the lockout coverage).
Reportedly, Evan Mathis, a 6-5, 302 lb guard that has played with the Cincinnati Bengals would like to be part of the Arizona Cardinals offensive line.
The reports comes from a tweet by Cardinals insider Mike Jurecki.
Our SB Nation Bengals blog Cincy Jungle thinks highly of Mathis:
Bengals offensive lineman Evan Mathis is the answer to a long-standing question: Which player could the Bengals purposely take out of the starting lineup to actually make the offensive line worse? As we've pointed out countless times, when Mathis starts at left guard, the Bengals interestingly win football games. Mathis was graded as the third best linemen during pass and rush blocks by Pro Football Focus during a seven-game stretch that the Bengals went 6-1. He graded as the second-best overall lineman for the entire year and as this awesome reward, they replace him with a player that Pro Football Focus graded as one of the worst offensive linemen on the team.
He has played both guard positions for the Bengals, which happen to be holes the Cardinals have as 2010 starting left guard Alan Faneca has retired and 2010 starting right guard Deuce Lutui is a free agent and hoping for a big payday.
Mathis is also unhappy in Cincinnati, as he has publicly via Twitter expressed his dislike for playing for the Bengals. It looks as though he will not return there. He is not on the list of top 50 free agents we have been using to profile potential signees, but could be a solid option for Arizona if the rumor is in fact true.
As his stats go, he has not allowed a sack in his playing time over three seasons. PFF also grades him highest in run blocking.
Given his size, it appears that he would have the body type for his position that Cardinals assistant Russ Grimm loves.
Considering he has not been a consistent starter, he will not likely command a huge contract.
This really sounds like a match made in heaven -- a guy who has been solid at his position, seems to be the type of lineman the coaching staff wants, at a position of need and who will not command big money.
I don't know about you, but I'm sold already. Get him to sign on the line that is dotted.