With the Dolphins interior offensive line still in flux and incumbent starting left guard Dallas Thomas already making another poor showing in OTAs, rumors have been swirling for months now regarding the possibility of the Dolphins somehow acquiring Philadelphia Eagles guard Evan Mathis.
Mathis, a 33-year old offensive lineman who is on the outs in Philadelphia, has been rumored to the Dolphins ever since the offseason began and it was revealed that the Eagles were shopping the veteran guard. The talks came to a head when it was reported that the Dolphins were closing in on a trade with the Eagles that many speculated might send either Mathis or cornerback Brandon Boykin to Miami, but ultimately, those talks either fell apart, or were exposed as nothing more than a smokescreen.
Mathis has been rated as the top overall guard by Pro Football Focus for the past several years, and the Eagles run a zone-blocking scheme just like the Dolphins do, which would make Mathis a seamless fit on an offensive line that has been struggling to keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill on his feet ever since his rookie season.
If the Dolphins were to acquire Mathis via trade, they would likely be on the hook for his $6,500,000 cap hit this season, and that money is a big reason the Eagles are looking to move the aging veteran. Unfortunately, it seems that the Dolphins pulling the trigger on a trade is unlikely based on comments recently made by Mathis's agent Drew Rosenhaus.
“I’ve been given permission by the Eagles to shop Evans,” Drew Rosenhaus said on the Joe Rose Show. “We thought we had a trade with another team leading up to the Draft. It was not the Dolphins. It kind of fell through based on what the team did in the draft but right now it doesn’t appear the Dolphins are a strong possibility. We’ve never really gotten close on a trade with the Dolphins.”
Could Rosenhaus merely be creating further smokescreens? There's always that possibility. It's been reported that Mathis' name was brought up in trade talks that probably would have sent Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan to the Eagles to reunite with his college coach from Oregon, Chip Kelly. Kelly's actions have indicated he isn't hiding the fact he enjoys having his former Oregon Ducks on his current Philadelphia Eagles squad, and Jordan would have added to that collection. That is, if he hadn't gotten suspended.
While any impending trades are unlikely, there's still the possibility that the Eagles may just outright cut the 11-year veteran and pocket the $4,500,000 the team would save by cutting him. That number jumps to $5,500,000 if he's cut after June 1st. Obviously, if Mathis is cut, the Dolphins should look into signing him to a more team friendly deal, but they will be competing with other teams in need of a top guard for a couple of years.
There's very little doubt that acquiring Mathis would fix the offensive line for the short term, and that unit is one of the few true concerns the team has at this point in time. Right now, Dallas Thomas is the starter, and that should be enough to make the whole fanbase break out in a cold sweat.
Mathis is currently holding out of the Eagles OTAs, and Chip Kelly hasn't been shy about cutting people he feels aren't going along with his vision. If Mathis is cut, then the Dolphins should put on a full-court press to make sure the veteran guard dresses in aqua and orange in 2015, and finally solidifies an offensive line that has been desperate for good interior play for years.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater