Despite their best efforts, the Oakland Raiders still have some serious concerns along the offensive line with the majority of NFL Free Agency action in the rearview mirror. That’s why a potential trade for Philadelphia Eagles guard Evan Mathis makes some sense for the Silver and Black.
The Eagles are looking to deal the 32-year-old Mathis, who is set to make $5.15 million this season. They’re expected to be looking for either a third- or fourth-round pick for the veteran guard.
Why can Evan Mathis be had via trade? At 32, he’s due $5.15M in salary in 2014, but he wants a new deal after breakout season, source says.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 26, 2014
The Raiders currently have Kevin Boothe and Mike Brisiel slated as their two starting guards heading into the 2014 campaign. Unfortunately, neither of them is a top-tier talent, which doesn’t bode well for the Raiders’ hopes of fielding a competent offense this season. Bringing Mathis aboard would be a huge upgrade for Oakland.
Not only is Mathis a capable pass protector, but he’s one of the best run blockers in the entire NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, Mathis rated as the top run blocker of any offensive lineman in the league last year, finishing with a 46.7 rating. Put simply, he knows how to open holes in the ground game.
To top it off, the Raiders are one of the few NFL teams with enough cap space to easily absorb Mathis’ contract.
The only big roadblock for the Raiders is the compensation. They already parted ways with a sixth-round pick last weekend to acquire Matt Schaub, which left them with only six available picks in May’s draft. Considering that they likely want to add some youth to their roster, parting ways with a mid-round pick might not be the best option.
However, if the Raiders do decide to take that route, they’d be getting a Pro Bowl guard who can create massive running lanes for the likes of Darren McFadden, Latavius Murray or whoever else might carry the load in Oakland this season.
If GM Reggie McKenzie is feeling brave, he might just make the move and bring Mathis aboard. As we’ve seen this offseason, he likes splash moves, so don’t be surprised if a deal gets done.