The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seemed to have a complete offensive line this offseason after they completed the signings of Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith, as combining these newcomers with Jeremy Zuttah, Carl Nicks and Demar Dotson would make for a solid front five.
However, Zuttah was then traded by the Buccaneers, leaving a hole on the offensive line with a thin free agent pool to attempt to fill that hole.
So could the Bucs be considering a trade to fill their need for a starting guard?
Evan Mathis of the Philadelphia Eagles is on the trading block, according to NFL.com’s Lance Cartelli and Ian Rapoport. And while Mathis is older and more expensive than Zuttah, he’s also one of the best guards in the NFL.
The 32-year-old is set to make $5.15 million in 2014, according to NFL.com, and that’s more than the Eagles would reportedly like to pay. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, have the cash to make that deal work. But would they?
It doesn’t seem to fit the modus operandi of Jason Licht to add an expensive, older player, but considering the team’s need at guard and the lack of options left, Mathis may be the right fit.
According to Pro Football Focus, no guard was better in 2013 than Mathis. He dominated as a run blocker, and was serviceable in other areas, leading to the top grade among guards. Last year wasn’t an anomaly for Mathis, either, as he’s been consistently strong over the past few years.
The NFL.com report indicates that Mathis wants a new deal, so if the Buccaneers are willing to invest in an older-than-ideal guard with a dominant track record, and can find the right price for both parties, this could be a huge addition to bolster their line.