Evan Mathis was contemplating a holdout.
He is not happy with his current deal and was considering not showing for the start of training camp as recently as this week. Ultimately, though, the All-Pro left guard decided that continuing to do the right thing for the team was the best course of action. He arrived at the NovaCare on Thursday and told Birds 24/7 that he will officially report with the rest of his teammates Friday.
Word first surfaced at the owners meetings in March that agent Drew Rosenhaus had approached management about re-doing the guard’s deal. The Eagles declined and suggested that Rosenhaus look for trade partners for his client. There were some exploratory talks with other teams but nothing ever got serious.
Much of the issue surrounds the lack of guaranteed money. The 32-year-old signed a five-year, $25 million contract in March of 2012 that included $6 million in guarantees. Three years remain on the deal and all of the guaranteed cash is gone.
His 2014 salary of $5.15 million is seventh among guards according to spotrac. Mathis' guaranteed money, though, pales in comparison to some of his peers. Tampa's Carl Nicks, for instance, has $25 million in guarantees; Logan Mankins $21.5 million; Andy Levitre of the Titans has $13 million; Jahri Evans of the Saints gets $12 million; and so on. Meanwhile, line mates Jason Peters ($15.75 million guaranteed) and Jason Kelce ($13 million guaranteed) were just taken care of.
Mathis wants a deal that is more in line with the market and his level of production. The Eagles do not want to rip up a contract this close to handing out the original one, concerned with the precedent that it would set.
A holdout would have put a strain on both parties. Teams can fine players up to $30,000 a day for missing training camp. If Mathis held firm he would not only potentially be losing a great deal of money, but hurting his team while setting off on a path that has no clear destination. From the Eagles standpoint, they would be missing one of their key pieces along the offensive front, which is already down a man for the first four games of the regular season because of the Lane Johnson suspension.
Bullet dodged for now. Mathis might not be the happiest camper, but he'll be camping nonetheless.
Mathis has started 47 of a possible 48 games since joining the Eagles in 2011. This past season he was named First-Team All-Pro and was selected to the Pro Bowl.