Evan Mathis: Should Atlanta Falcons Sign Him?


With the Atlanta Falcons set to begin training camp on the 31st, there are still a few major moves the front office could make to help bolster the 2015 team.  The first and most obvious is to sign Pro Bowl Wide Receiver Julio Jones to a new, long-term contract to keep him in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.

-= Related: Atlanta Falcons: Top 5 Defensive Players for 2015 =-

Another move Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff could make is to sign 2x Pro Bowl Guard Evan Mathis formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles.  At 33 years of age, would it be wise for the Atlanta Falcons to bring Mathis to Flowery Branch for the next two seasons?

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  • Evan Mathis is a ten-year NFL veteran offensive guard coming off his best stint in the NFL with four great years in Philadelphia.  Mathis made Pro Bowl appearances in both 2013 and 2014, as well as being an All-Pro in 2013.  Perhaps it was financial implications that caused Eagles HC Chip Kelly to move on from one of the most productive left guards in the NFL this past offseason.

    Though Atlanta has made many changes to its offensive line to get the unit better equipped to play in new OC Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme, only two of the five starting spots have guaranteed starters: LT Jake Matthews and RG Jon Asamoah.

    With either Joe Hawley or James Stone likely to play center and either Lamar Holmes or Ryan Schraeder to start at right tackle, the left guard position for the Atlanta Falcons still seems like it’s the offensive lines most glaring hole since Justin Blalock‘s release and now retirement.

    -= Falcons All-Time Lists: Top 5 QBs =-

    Evan Mathis makes sense here in Atlanta for the right deal.  He thrived playing in Chip Kelly’s break-neck speed based offensive attack in Philadelphia.  It’s imperative in a ZBS to have athletic guards that can pull with authority on both sweeps and counters.  Even at 33, Mathis seems like a great scheme fit and would help improve the Atlanta Falcons’ Achilles’ Heel: its offensive line.

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    It would be somewhat of a homecoming for Mathis who grew up in Birmingham and played collegiately in Tuscaloosa for the Alabama Crimson Tide.  While he may not have the wheels any more to play at Kelly’s frenetic pace in Philly, his services would greatly improve an offensive line unit in Atlanta desperately trying to establish an identity.  The Falcons cannot afford to have protection issues on the interior of their line if the team wants to keep Matt Ryan healthy and in the playoff mix in 2015.

    According to his agent, Evan Mathis will likely sign a deal somewhere right before having to report to training camp.  Rumors have circulated that Atlanta is one of the places that is highly interested in acquiring Mathis’ services this fall.  While some Falcons fans could argue that signing Evan Mathis would be like signing Steven Jackson or Osi Umenyiora, former Pro Bowlers rapidly declining from their prime, it wouldn’t be as glaring at guard.

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    Though the entire defense remains a work in progress for Dan Quinn and his staff and both the running backs and tight ends on offense remain unproven, Atlanta needs to find some answers on the offensive line quickly if it wants to stay competitive in the NFC this fall.  While a front office normally wouldn’t want to overpay for a guard (I’m looking at you Saints), I still think it’s a smart decision to bring Evan Mathis into Flowery Branch on a two-year deal.

    The Falcons still are a good bit under the cap even before the Julio Jones contract extension and a potential Evan Mathis signing.  Even after getting both deals done, Atlanta will still have $3-5 Million in a rainy day reserve fund for this season that could go towards an injury replacement or even better, towards next year’s salary cap.

    Next: Atlanta Falcons: Top 5 Rookie Heading Into Camp

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