When Head Coach, Andy Reid, arrived in Kansas City after the 2012 season, everyone knew the foundation for his offensive success centered on the five guys up front. Without a solid offensive line, it would be nearly impossible to run Reid’s system to perfection.
In two seasons in Kansas City, the Chiefs offensive line has struggled to execute Reid’s offense but also protect Quarterback, Alex Smith. That’s why despite the fact KC’s offensive line heading into training camp appears solid; it still could be better with one more addition.
For weeks now, the Chiefs have been flirting with securing the services of veteran Guard, Evan Mathis. However, the Miami Dolphins have been a worthy adversary in this tug of war.
The Dolphins might have the better climate but not the better football team. In Kansas City, all the pieces for a terrific offense are in place. With the talents of Quarterback Alex Smith, Running Back Jamaal Charles, Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin and Tight End Travis Kelce, they might be the best offensive quartet in the division.
In flirting with Mathis, it’s obvious the Chiefs don’t feel the work they’ve done to revamp their offensive line this off-season is complete. In that span of time, the Chiefs traded for former All-Pro Guard, Ben Grubbs, signed free agent Guard, Paul Fanaika and added Missouri Center Mitch Morse in the second round of the NFL Draft.
The addition of Mathis would allow the Chiefs to put forth the most experienced and talented offensive line in the AFC West. However, getting Mathis under contract won’t be an easy task.
Though Mathis isn’t in the prime of his career, he still has one or two more years of elite play left in his legs. Though injuries forced him to the sidelines for parts of the 2014 season, Andy Reid knows what he has in Mathis from their years together in Philadelphia.
Though Mathis played briefly with Miami before he found a home with the Eagles, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a lock to return to the Sunshine state.
Still this deal likely falls down to guaranteed dollars. No matter which team Mathis end up signing with (Chiefs or Dolphins), he’s going to get a three-year deal in the $20 plus million range that both teams can afford within their current salary cap.
His agent the legendary, Drew Rosenhous, has played his cards perfectly in getting both teams to play a game of free agent war. He knows despite his client’s thirty-something age, he’s still the games premier guard in the NFL today.
Either way Mathis can’t go wrong. The Chiefs will battle the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers for the AFC West this season. The Dolphins have gained ground with a solid off-season to position themselves to become a contender in the AFC East in jettisoning the New England Patriots from the top spot in the division.
However, the addition of Mathis to one team or the other could tip the scales in securing a post season birth as a division winner or as a wild card entrant this year.
If that weren’t the belief among the Chiefs or Dolphins, it’s unlikely they’d be pursuing a 33-year old offensive lineman to help solidify their respective offensive lines.
So which team wants him more?
As always, the one team willing to spend the most dollars to secure his services.