Evan Mathis and the Denver Broncos have agreed to terms, according to a report from ESPN Insider Adam Schefter. It's a one-year deal worth $2.5 million with a chance to make up to $4 million. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports Mathis turned down a $5.5 million deal in order to play for a contender such as Denver.
The Philadelphia Eagles released Mathis earlier this offseason. The 33-year-old veteran was set to carry a $6.5 million cap hit in 2015 prior to the Eagles' decision to release him. Philadelphia saved $4.5 million by releasing Mathis, but they also opened up a big hole on their offensive line. Mathis recorded 56 starts over the last four seasons in Philadelphia. His performance in 2013 and 2014 earned him two Pro Bowl appearances.
Chip Kelly cited financial reasons as the motivation behind cutting Mathis. Reports from as early as the 2014 offseason indicated Mathis wanted a raise, but the veteran honored his 2014 deal and didn't hold out. During the 2015 offseason, however, Mathis reportedly asked for his release and then decided to hold out of voluntary workouts. According to Kelly, the Eagles tried to trade Mathis but the team never received an offer for him. One report indicates a potential Mathis trade fell apart during the 2015 NFL Draft. The Eagles cut Mathis before the team's mandatory minicamp session in mid-June. After he was released, Mathis said he planned on attending. Mathis also directly told Bleeding Green Nation the terms he asked for from the Eagles:
"All I asked for in the end was Pro Bowl/All-Pro bonuses that would allow me to reach 8 mil/year. Which is slightly less than top 5 OG APY. But I would have had to earn them."
Mathis projects to be the oldest starting guard in the NFL this season, but he should be able to help out his new team. Meanwhile, the Eagles will replace Mathis at left guard with journeyman veteran Allen Barbre.