FLORHAM PARK: The New York Jets have a hole at right guard.
Sitting in free agency at this moment is a 33-year-old two-time Pro Bowl right guard.
The New York Jets are aware. And interested.
“We’ve actually had talks with (Evan Mathis)’s agent,” Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said Friday before the team’s third training camp practice. “They’re getting a feel for where they are and they have a range for where they want to be.”
Earlier this offseason, the former Philadelphia Eagle forced his way out of town in pursuit of a new contract. Since 2013, Mathis has made two Pro Bowls, earned first-team All-Pro honors and was a three-time Pro Football Focus all-pro. The former third-round pick established himself into one of the game’s best guards, so, Mathis wanted to be compensated as such.
Mathis sat out all of Philly’s offseason workouts, despite the fact he missed seven games in 2014. When he and the Eagles couldn’t agree on a new deal, the team released him. Since then, things have been quiet on the Mathis front.
“Obviously, Evan is a good player,” Maccagnan said. “But obviously as this thing plays out a little bit, we’ll get a better feel for that. Evan may have a value he’s looking for that may not be in the value that some of the teams want to spend on him. So you want to see how it develops.”
When speaking to the media, Maccagnan made it clear he wants to see what the Jets have right now at guard before pursuing Mathis seriously. Presently, Oday Aboushi, Brian Winters, Willie Colon and Brent Qvale have all been receiving first-team reps throughout Jets OTAs and minicamp. Since training camp began Thursday, Winters has been receiving the vast majority of first-team reps.
If one of the four players separates themselves in training camp, Maccagnan seems to be confident sticking with what he’s got. If the position doesn’t produce the way he wants, he’s willing to take the means necessary to improve New York’s line.
“We have the ability to (sign Mathis),” Maccagnan said. “But you have to think of the short and long term gains. We’ll see how it develops. I wouldn’t say there’s anything to read between the lines yet. Nothing pressing.”