By Barbara Harrison

No matter which side you were on in the Chip Kelly-Evan Mathis staredown, everyone agrees that it was a big gamble for the aging Mathis, who missed half of last season due to injury, to roll the dice with the Chipper.

The whining Mathis wanted more money (despite being set to make $5.5 million this season) and didn’t get it from the the Eagles.

The question for Mathis will be: Was it worth it? Will he get that additional money he was fighting for so diligently behind the scenes over the past few years? asked three anonymous people in the know about what Mathis should expect when he signs on with another NFL team:

Executive: 1 year, $3-3.5 million with incentives to reach $5 million.

Salary Cap Expert: 3 years, $14-17 million with $6-8 million guaranteed.

Agent: 1 year, $3-4 million with incentives to reach $5.5 million.

If the executive and agent are in the right range, this was a mistake by Mathis and agent Drew Rosenhaus. They miscalculated his market. The 33-year-old would have to reach certain attainable incentives to even recoup what he was supposed to pocket this season if he was on the Eagles roster.

Mathis may have made multiple Pro Bowls, but he’s over-30 and only played nine games last season because of injury. He was a career journeyman before landing in Philly in his seventh professional season and isn’t a great fit schematically for most teams. He’s a smallish guard (6-5, 298) made for a zone-blocking scheme. The executive and agent think these factors will work against Mathis.

If the salary cap expert is close, this gamble will probably be worth it. Mathis lands in a spot where he feels wanted and is guaranteed more money (granted over multiple years) than he was with the Eagles, who likely would have dumped him after this season at 34 years old unless he had a Pro Bowl year. Mathis was set to make $6 million in 2016.

If any of the three surveyed sources are correct, Mathis will get nowhere near the payday his team and the public seem to think he’ll land on the open market. The $6.5-7 million per season that is being bandied about is a pipe-dream, even if it’s only for a season or two.

Or maybe there is that one team desperate enough to blow away the field and meet Mathis’ demands. If that’s the case, it will seemingly shock those around the league.

One thing is certain ‐ that big money won’t come from any of the three local teams. The Eagles … that ship has sailed. The Giants and Jets … they’re not paying that hefty price and don’t have the salary cap space to do it even if they wanted.


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