The Jacksonville Jaguars made some news Tuesday night with a report that they will not be offering free agent cornerback Rashean Mathis a contract. Mathis has spent his entire 10-year NFL career in Jacksonville, but he will turn 33 in August and simply does not fit with the rebuilding plan of new general manager David Caldwell.
Mathis had 26 interceptions over six seasons from 2004-2009, including eight in 2006 when he earned his lone career Pro Bowl selection, and his name was often mentioned among the top cover corners in the league during that time. But his production has been dismal over the last three seasons, with just two total interceptions, and the torn left ACL he suffered in 2011 led him to him starting just four games in 2012.
The Minnesota Vikings need to add depth at cornerback this offseason, and if they are serious about changing Antoine Winfield’s role next season that need is even greater. With the high caliber of wide receivers elsewhere in the NFC North, adding someone who can effectively lock down a team’s No. 1 wide receiver would help the entire defense. Chris Cook has shown that type of ability when he has been on the field, but injuries and off the field issues have held him back.
The biggest question with Mathis would be his health, since he also missed time last season with a groin issue. At his age those type of nagging issues are unlikely to go away, but it’s worth mentioning that being another year removed from his ACL tear may benefit him and give him a chance to recapture his previous form.
Since the Vikings are unlikely to break the bank for any free agent, Mathis may be in their wheelhouse due to his low cost alone. But adding a player that has shown serious signs of decline, and thus may not have much to offer even with better health, seems like an exercise in futility.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.