Mathis Comes Back for One More Year
by The Sports Xchange
--Cornerback Rashean Mathis, who was due to become an unrestricted free agent, has agreed to terms on a new one-year, $5 million deal with the Jaguars, according to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.
The new contract is a raise of just over $500,000 from the $4.45 million Mathis earned in 2011, a season that saw him play in only nine games before suffering a season-ending torn ACL in November.
With free agency set to open in a few days, the Jaguars have yet to lock in any of their key players who will become unrestricted free agents on March 13. General manager Gene Smith has indicated that he's spoken to the agents of some of the key players the team would like to re-sign and that he has had "good dialogue" with them.
Two players who all played a significant role with the team last year and who can begin talking with other teams on the 13th include defensive end Jeremy Mincey and safety Dwight Lowery. Smith has indicated that he'd like to have both the aforementioned players back with the team in 2012.
Our take: The Jaguars are dangerously thin at cornerback and this was a nice "insurance" type of move. It's also good to reward a Jacksonville native and one of the best defensive players in franchise history.
Keep an eye on what the team decides to do at the safety position as Dwight Lowery still remains unsigned. If Jacksonville can't sign a new safety look for the team to draft a cornerback and potentially move Mathis back to free safety where he began his NFL career.
Cullen Enamored With a Defensive End
Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen has taken a fancy toward ultra-productive Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus. The two spoke for an extended period of time during his Pro Day and our sources say Cullen was very impressed.
Jags Meet With Tight End
Before anyone further speculates, the future of former Pro Bowl tight end Marcedes Lewis is far from in doubt. The team expects him to bounce back in 2012 as he hopes to get on the same page with quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Still, the Jaguars must add depth and they interviewed former Minnesota Golden Gopher tight end Eric Lair. Lair ran in the 4.5's (40-yard dash) and posted a 36 ½" vertical leap while measuring in at 6-foot-3, 238 pounds.
"Today went fantastic," Lair said. "Better than I thought it would be. I did well in my position drills, even though I didn't catch many balls over the break. But year, I did better than I thought I would."
Jags May Put A Bounty on Porter
According to a team source, the Jaguars are interested in free agent cornerback Tracy Porter, formerly of the Saints. New Orleans, tight against the salary cap can't get into bidding wars on free agents such as Carl Nicks, Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Tracy Porter and the Jags could scoop up the play-making 25-year old.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie