A game of chicken is currently being played in the Miami Dolphins’ front office, and the subject of this questionable game relates to whether or not the team will be signing free agent guard Evan Mathis.
As always, the sticking point is money, with Mathis expecting to be paid commensurate with the salary he had been making ($5.5 million) with his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, think $3 million or so is a more appropriate figure. Plus, given the fact that Mathis will turn 34 during the 2015 season, and was limited to just nine games last year because of injuries, they’re not eager to go past this year. Mathis was scheduled to make $6 million in 2016.
Mathis was released by the Eagles on June 11 after an offseason of turmoil which began when he announced that he wanted to renegotiate the $25 million deal he had signed with the team in 2011. The demand came in the wake of two consecutive appearances in the Pro Bowl.
With Head Coach Chip Kelly calling the shots for Philly, it was inevitable that the team wouldn’t give in, especially when Mathis showed his displeasure by boycotting the team’s voluntary offseason workouts. The release then came within a week of the three-day mandatory minicamp.
At the time, Kelly didn’t sound too brokenhearted about losing Mathis, saying, “Evan’s been available to trade for two years now and we’ve never had an offer for him.”
Mathis does have Miami roots of sorts, being the nephew of former Dolphin great, Bob Baumhower. While that might sound great in a media guide or game notes if the signing ever comes about, it’s certainly not going to be a determining factor in how the team pursues this matter.
The possibility of losing either Thomas or Douglas to injury might quickly force Miami to reassess their approach, especially if the alternative’s play has a chance to affect the health of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The signal caller signed a six-year extension for $96 million in May. Therefore, saving $2 million on Mathis might turn out to be a penny-wise and pound-foolish move that could obliterate what the Dolphins are hoping will be a season that marks a return to the postseason.
In addition, if the Dolphins wait too long, another team is bound to suffer an interior line injury. That means that there will be more inclination by that team to give Mathis a deal that’s either similar or closer to what he’s asking for with Miami.
This isn’t a high-stakes negotiations right now, but if it comes back to bite the team during the course of the season, the blowback could extend into different areas.
A failure to reach the playoffs after an offseason of buildup and high-priced acquisitions and investments likely means that Head Coach Joe Philbin will be pink-slipped, and the coaching carousel continues. Therefore, it just might be better for the team to simply up their offer to at least attempt to meet Mathis halfway. The payoff might be worth it.