Re-signing offensive guard Evan Mathis was a long-shot at best for the Cincinnati Bengals, who routinely kept him from starting in favor of Nate Livings, often graded worse than Mathis in major statistical categories such as... blocking. Now that long-shot is gone. The Philadelphia Eagles announced that they signed former Mathis in a move that ESPN's Dan Graziano says might be more "about where the Eagles are in their negotiations with first-round pick Danny Watkins", where talks have "hit a wall."
We have routinely promoted Mathis as the team's best option at left guard. Mathis has seven career starts with Cincinnati, all coming in 2009 when the Bengals won six of seven games from the second to the ninth week of the season -- all with Mathis starting. According to Pro Football Focus' grading scale, Mathis posted the third best pass and blocking scores compared all Bengals linemen that year. And for whatever reason Bengals liked Nate Livings, often graded as one of the worst blockers, over Mathis so much that he started all 16 games with the 4-12 Bengals last season.
When Reggie Bush watched New Orleans draft running back Mark Ingram in the first round of the 2011 NLF Draft, Bush tweeted "It's been fun New Orleans". Mathis followed that up with "It hasn't been fun Cincinnati", an obvious declaration that he had no intentions of returning. However the Bengals did sign restricted free agent Nate Livings and were at one point in discussions with former offensive lineman Stacy Andrews. At what point do we stop regressing?
Mathis becomes the second unrestricted free agent to leave Cincinnati, several days after Johnathan Joseph signed a five-year deal with the Houston Texans.
(h/t to palewook for the FanPost)
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