2012 NFL Free Agents: Eagles, Ravens Want Evan Mathis—Who Has the Upper Hand?

Giorgos Kassakos@@Greek_QBAnalyst IMarch 16, 2012

E. Mathis is a FA target for both Baltimore and Philadelphia.
E. Mathis is a FA target for both Baltimore and Philadelphia.Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Evan Mathis was brought to Philadelphia last summer to take over the left guard spot after the Eagles decided to move Todd Herremans to right tackle. Mathis only signed a single-season contract, primarily because no one expected him to become a vital part of the offense.

After a slow start, the Bird's offensive line began to gel and improve with every game. In the end, it was one of the brightest spots of the team, despite the poor season.

Mathis played in 15 games and started each of them. Finally, the 30-year-old journeyman (having played for Carolina, Miami and Cincinnati before the Eagles) looked like he found himself a home.

However, Mathis became a free agent last Tuesday and he still remains unsigned.

The Eagles recently extended the contracts of Trent Cole and Todd Herremans and signed DeSean Jackson to a five-year deal. They are planning to give a new contract to LeSean McCoy, and they have to acquire a proven linebacker to get stronger near the line of scrimmage, but also they can’t afford to lose Mathis.

The Baltimore Ravens are interested in Mathis and have made him an offer, hoping he will join their team as Ben Grubbs’ replacement. Mathis reportedly said that he’s been offered “a nice deal” according to ESPN, but he has not yet responded.

Of course, Philadelphia is still interested in keeping their left guard. Reuben Frank reported that the Eagles told Mathis they will make him a better offer, after Mathis informed them about the Ravens’ offer and its details.

Since Mathis told the Eagles what Baltimore offered him, it looks like he prefers to stay in Philly. Even if the two proposed contracts are identical, the Eagles are the favorites to win this race.

Mathis enjoyed his share of success in 2011 and already knows how to perform in Howard Mudd’s system. Staying with the Eagles makes more sense, and this way both he and the team will be winners.

All the Eagles have to do is give him the contract he’s been waiting for his whole NFL career.