By Michael Donovan
Former Eagles guard Evan Mathis’ long NFL nightmare is over.
Cut by Chip Kelly two months ago, Mathis has been hoping against hope that some NFL team would sign his 34-year-old, injury riddled body for at least the $5.5 million he would have made in Philly.
If, that is, his dumb-o agent Drew Rosenhaus hadn’t convinced him to hold out for $8.5 million!
Well, Denver Broncos GM John Elway came through.
But the guaranteed money is about half what he would have made in Philly.
Mathis, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, will receive a $2.5 million base salary with the ability to earn up to $4 million if he hits all of the play-time incentives, sources told ESPN.
The $1.5 million worth of incentives will include percentage of offensive snaps played as well as amounts for each week Mathis is on the active game-day roster.
“Evan Mathis is an accomplished veteran who has played at a very high level for the last several seasons,” Elway said in a statement. “He will immediately make our team better, and we are excited to have him as part of the Denver Broncos.”
Mathis projects to start at left guard for Denver, putting a veteran player into a youth movement in the offensive front. The Broncos have had rookie Max Garcia at left guard through the bulk of training camp as well as the two preseason games.
Garcia, rookie left tackle Ty Sambailo and center Matt Paradis, who was on the team’s practice squad as a rookie in 2014, gave the Broncos a left side of the offensive line with no NFL regular-season starts to protect star Peyton Manning.
Mathis has experience in a West Coast offense dating to his time with the Eagles during the Andy Reid era, so the transition should go quickly. The Broncos’ most likely combination on the offensive line for the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens would be Sambrailo at left tackle, Mathis at left guard, Paradis at center, Louis Vasquez at right guard and Ryan Harris at right tackle.