Aug 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles guard Evan Mathis (69) leaves the field after playing the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Panthers 14-9. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Why the Eagles Shouldn't Trade Evan Mathis

This morning, it was announced that the Philadelphia Eagles have put All-Pro Guard Evan Mathis on the trading block. This news is much more shocking than the recent reports of Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson being put on the trading block.  Mathis is coming off a fantastic season where he seemed to fit perfectly as a zone blocker in first year head coach Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme.  Mathis has been widely regarded as the best guard, if not the best offensive lineman, in all of professional football for the past three years.

To be honest, this news caught me completely off guard.  Why would the Eagles trade the best lineman in all of football? There’s a reason you don’t see the Green Bay Packers trading quarterback Aaron Rodgers, or the Detroit Lions trading stud wide receiver Calvin Johnson.  Teams don’t generally put the best player at any position on the trading block.  The fact that the Eagles have reportedly done so is a bit unsettling and seems completely unwarranted.

I question what they think they will be getting in return for Mathis.  After all, Mathis will be 33 in the middle of next season, and has been a bit of a journeyman since being picked in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL draft.  It was with the Eagles that he finally caught on and became a dominant player at the guard position.  With the Eagles, he has been rated the top guard in football three times in three years and earned one all-pro bid at the position.  His age may have a bit to do with why the Eagles want to trade him, but it will also limit what they can get in return for him.

Money should not be a problem with Mathis either.  The Eagles, after the first wave of free agency, still have about $17 million in cap space.  I’m not saying pay him a ton of money just because we can, but Mathis, despite being the highest ranked guard in football, earns the 14th-highest salary of guards in football.  Usually, elite players want to get paid as such.

I definitely think that the Eagles should keep Mathis, but not if it means breaking the bank to do so. That being said, I’m not sure that trading him would be a great route to go, as I don’t think the Eagles would get a fair amount in return for an aging guard, albeit the best guard in football.  However, I would be interested to see if the Eagles actively look for a trade route for Mathis.  I don’t think it would be bad if the Eagles pursued a young player like Dion Jordan, packaged with a pick or two, for Mathis.  I think we will find out very soon what is really going to happen with Mathis, as elite players are typically not “available” for very long.

What do you think? Please feel free to comment below.

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