AFC West Update
Two-time Pro Bowler and 2013 All Pro offensive guard Evan Mathis has signed with the Denver Broncos. The one-year deal is worth up to $4 million in compensation. The relatively modest deal comes as a bit of surprise as it was widely assumed that the Philadelphia Eagles and Mathis parted ways because they couldn’t come to terms on some type of extension or pay raise. However, there were reports that the 33-year-old Mathis had more lucrative offers from other teams once granted his release from Philadelphia. He ultimately decided to opt for Denver instead. It’s a HUGE get for Denver as a new offensive system (zone-blocking) and a trio of new starters (not upgrades) were expected to start Week 1 in front of Peyton Manning. Mathis certainly is a new face in Denver but he should be considered a substantial upgrade to the existing offensive line after grading out as the No. 2 offensive guard in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus in an injury shortened 2014 season. Additionally, Mathis should be a good systemic fit in head coach Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme considering that he is a lighter (304 lbs.) and more athletic guard compared to your typical road grader. The fact that he has played at a vey high level the last couple of seasons in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense suggests that he is in great shape and effective in space. Essential attributes for effective zone-blocking offensive linemen.
In other news:
- The Steelers have placed QB Bruce Gradkowski on injured reserved; and
- QB Michael Vick has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Steelers.