Yes, Eagles Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis is available in trade, as multiple NFL media have reported today.
Yes, the Dolphins could use an upgrade at guard, as the entire Earth knows. So the issue will be discussed internally. And former Eagles assistant Bill Lazor, now the offensive coordinator with the Dolphins, will obviously be part of that discussion. Lazor knows intimately what the Eagles coaching staff thought of Mathis throughout last season.
So naturally, the question becomes would the Dolphins be interested in Evan Mathis enough to try to get him?
I do not know for sure.
But let's examine the facts ...
Mathis is 32 years old. He'll be 33 in November. That's not a good thing. That's a bad thing. The Dolphins had zero interest in 32-year-old guard Travelle Wharton this offseason despite his solid play for Carolina in 2013.
Mathis has a contract that will pay him $5.15 million this year in base salary, $5.5 million in 2015 when he's 33-34 years old and $6 million in 2016 at age 34-35 years old during the season. I understand why the Eagles are trying to trade him.
It is not a good guard contract for the team because of the player's advancing age. You can happily pay $5 million a year for a 25-29-year-old guard who is a Pro Bowl player and rated 2013's best NFL guard by ProFootballFocus.com, as Mathis was. But at age 32-33? That is something of a stretch.
The Eagles also want compensation for Mathis. Understandably so. He's really good.
But to give up a valuable draft pick -- anything between the first through fourth round -- in one of the deepest drafts in a while for a player who may not be around in two years is also something of a desperation move.
Combine the two -- paying the big base salaries and giving up a draft pick and the deal is not exactly a slam dunk.
Obviously, the Dolphins could ask Mathis to redo his contract. Well, if that's the case, he'd probably like a raise rather a trim in salary. Hard to do.
They could wait on the Eagles to simply cut Mathis, which seems like a possibility because they want to get out from under the contract, but then the player becomes a free agent and is able to negotiate with other teams.
So the Dolphins face a question. Do they solve their guard issue short-term at a very, very steep price?
Or do they go into the draft and try to resolve the issue at a much lower cap hit with a player who is young and has his better days ahead of him?
Obviously the latter includes the unknown of whether the selected player turns out to be good or not.
These are the questions GM Dennis Hickey and his team will have to answer.