NFL Free Agents 2012: Why the Ravens Are Smart to Pursue Evan Mathis

Ryan AlfieriCorrespondent IIIMarch 17, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18:  Evan Mathis #69 of the Philadelphia Eagles drops back to pass block against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field on December 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Not much has gone right for the Baltimore Ravens this week. They lost a lot of solid players like Jarrett Johnson and Corey Redding from the defensive side. 

Their biggest failure has been their inability to retain guard Ben Grubbs, who left to fill in Carl Nicks' spot in New Orleans. Grubbs has been a major part of what the Ravens do on offense. 

However, if the Ravens are able to land the former Eagle Evan Mathis, all of their misdoings will be forgotten. Simply put, Mathis is a superior player to Grubbs. Often overshadowed by fellow lineman Jason Peters, Mathis bulldozes three techniques and created huge running lanes for LeSean McCoy. 

Grubbs is a good player, but he does not move around elite defensive tackles on a regular basis like Mathis does. In fact, Grubbs is not even the best guard on his own team—to me, Marshal Yanda is the better player of the two. 

But where the Ravens can really capitalize here is on getting the most bang for their buck. Nicks raked in a little under $10 million a year for five years as the highest paid guard, while Grubbs' contract was for about $10 million less for the same amount of years. 

Nicks was going to get the most money, as he was widely regarded as the best in this year's free agency class. But Grubbs and Mathis are looked upon as being just a tier beneath Nicks' caliber, and should make about just as much as Grubbs. 

In my opinion, the Ravens are swapping out guards and getting a better player for the same price. 

Mathis will return to his home in Arizona and mull the possibility of being a Raven. Should he accept, things may finally be looking up for the Ravens in free agency.