Sunday, July 31, 2011
Eagles sign Mathis, wait out Watkins
By Dan Graziano
Because it had been a few hours since their last signing, the Eagles on Sunday morning announced the signing of guard Evan Mathis, a seven-year veteran who spent the past three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Mathis, 29, started 15 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2006 but has started only seven total since then -- all in 2009 for the Bengals. He has a chance to be a useful piece for Philadelphia, providing depth on the line, but his signing at this time might say more about where the Eagles are in their negotiations with first-round draft pick Danny Watkins.
The Eagles selected Watkins with the intention of making him the starting right guard. But in spite of a new rookie wage scale that restricts what teams can offer their first-round picks under the new labor agreement, Watkins is one of a handful of first-rounders who remain unsigned. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Saturday that the Eagles' talks with Watkins had "hit a wall," and beat writer Jeff McLane has since said on his Twitter page that he believes the hangup to be about the length of the contract.
Watkins will surely sign at some point, but training camp has already started, and if Watkins is going to come in late and be behind, they may not be able to start him in Week 1 of his rookie season. So they bring in a veteran who can learn the ropes and do the job if needed, just in case things with Watkins don't get wrapped up anytime soon.
Hey, it's not one of the five most exciting things the Eagles have done this week, but they still need an offensive line, right?