Evan Mathis signing with the Miami Dolphins seems to be a perfect solution to the team's need to upgrade the offensive line, an upgrade that would bring a two-time Pro Bowl guard to South Florida. The only problem seems to be, the Dolphins are not the only team interested in landing Mathis, who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
According to a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly, agent Drew Rosenhaus indicated there are 10 teams interested in signing Mathis, though Rosenhaus would not identify which teams those were. "We're prepared to be patient and find the right team, and right situation for him," Rosenhaus told Kelly.
Miami had been linked to to Mathis as a possible trade partner with the Eagles, but no deal ever materialized. Now that Mathis is a free agent, rumors have continued to speculate that the Dolphins would make a run at him, a player who was actually with the team briefly in 2008. According to Kelly, a Dolphins source has confirmed to him that the team is interested, but no offer has officially been made.
The question becomes how much Miami is willing to pay for Mathis. The team likely will not be looking to get into a bidding war, while Mathis, who was scheduled to make $5.5 million with the Eagles, will be looking to be paid like one of the top interior offensive linemen in the league.
"Obviously the contract is a factor for any player. Evan has gone to the last two Pro Bowls and we want to make sure he's compensated like a Pro Bowl player," Rosenhaus continued, according to Kelly. "While Evan is a veteran, basically the first half of his career he was a reserve who didn't play very much. In my opinion, and in Evan's opinion, he has a lot more tread on his tires than most players at his position."
Miami is currently looking to a combination of third-year player Dallas Thomas, second-year player Billy Turner, or rookie Jamil Douglas to man the two guard positions on the offensive line. "I like the guys that we have," head coach Joe Philbin told the media earlier this week. "There's no question in my mind that they'll be capable of doing the job. I think they just need experience, they need repetition, they need exposure, they need to work with (center Mike) Pouncey and the guy next to them and get it figured out. It may not be as pretty as we want it day one of training camp, but I think they are great guys, football is important to them. These guys have been working extremely hard."
The Dolphins seem to be handling the Mathis situation in exactly the right manner. They are not in a rush to over pay for his services, and they are saying the things to make sure the young players still have the confidence you want them to have as they finish minicamp and break for the summer before training camp starts in July. They are also not out of the Mathis sweepstakes and will continue to evaluate what they can do to upgrade the spot.
It may just come down to whether or not they want to outbid nine other franchises for the two-time Pro Bowler.