We won’t destroy any brain cells uncovering the fact, Andy Reid and Eugene Chung coached Mathis when they were employed by the Eagles. To say they know the man inside and out, would be an understatement. So it’s a safe assumption this morning to think the Chiefs will be calling the agent who represents Mathis about coming to Kansas City.
What’s not exactly a safe assumption is assuming the Chiefs are just going to scrap everything they’ve been building at offensive line to make room for the aging player that might just have one or two more years of NFL shelf life.
If they sign him, where does he fit?
Mathis plays left guard but Ben Grubbs currently occupies that spot for the Chiefs. So that means the Chiefs would have to push him to right guard where they signed Paul Fanaika in free agency. So just to ponder the move to sign him, and take on his financial liability, the man has no place to play at the moment. Further, by signing Mathis what do the Chiefs do with Zach Fulton?
Now that’s enough information to at least slow down the assumptions that this move is a slam dunk. Because on paper, the Chiefs offensive line with Mathis from left to right shakes out as follows?
Those five (plus one) probably look pretty good to Chiefs fans. In fact, it certainly could give them a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. That internal euphoria would erase the eroding play of last years offensive line. The trouble with that statement is the fact its riddled with risks. By allowing the possibility the team will sign Mathis, what happens to the development of Eric Kush, the roster future of Donald Stephenson and Fulton.
A year ago Fulton started all 16 games for the Chiefs at right guard. Yet at this point in his career, Fulton isn’t better than Mathis. Still you might be able to argue that the younger Fulton has a higher long-term ceiling than the former Eagles lineman.
Kush has been with the Chiefs since 2013 and he knows the center position. In fact, Grubbs has stated how much Kush has helped him learn KC’s offense. Yet, despite he looks like a man-child, he could once again be relegated to back-up. Pushing the point further, Kush looks like the one that would take you out back and tie you into a pretzel. Frankly, he looks like he can win the center position, placing 2015 second round pick, Mitch Morse, looking elsewhere for a permanent spot on the Chiefs offensive line.
In Donald Stephenson, the Chiefs have a right tackle with experience that lost his job due to a suspension for using PED’s a year ago. The fact, Reid didn’t hand it back to him when he was roster eligible, should tell you something. Last season the Chiefs head coach made that abundantly clear, Ryan Harris took Donald Stephenson’s job because of the suspension. Now Ryan Harris is gone. Donald Stephenson is in a battle with veteran, Jeff Allen. As far as Stephenson though, how long that remains the case, might hinge on the teams decision to sign Mathis.
While the addition of Mathis is intriguing-indeed, the move wouldn’t be a sure thing for the Chiefs. Plus, with the state of Justin Houston’s extension still in a state of flux, adding Mathis won’t be cheap. And at his age, the risk might be greater than the reward. Either way its going to cost the Chiefs millions.
In the end, if the Chiefs sign Mathis, I’d consider it a great move. Should the signing pan out then perhaps we can debate the signing with the fact he was the missing piece to a Super Bowl Championship team in Kansas City.
However, if the Chiefs pass, I’ll remain convinced the Chiefs can still get it done without Evan Mathis. Then again, if he signs with Oakland, San Diego or Denver, I’d probably not like it.
After all, it’s no secret that those teams need linemen too and that might be the reason he ends up with Kansas City.
Photos Courtesy: Howard Smith & Bil Streicher USA Today Sports Images