The Eagles have assured Evan Mathis that theyll beat the Ravens contract offer for the veteran free agent guard, who blossomed playing for the Eagles last year.
Mathis, an unrestricted free agent, took one visit, to Baltimore, and received an offer for a long-term multi-year deal before he left late Friday morning.
According to a league source, Mathis informed the Eagles of the details of the offer, and the Eagles told him they would not only match the offer but beat it.
Mathis left Baltimore and was scheduled to fly home to Arizona to weigh the two offers. He is not expected to take long to make a decision.
Peters, Kelce, Watkins and now Herremans are all signed through at least 2014, and the Eagles would like to keep the unit together for the next several years.
Mathis, with his fourth team in five years, came into his own last year, his first year as a full-time starter since 2006 with the Panthers. Although he didnt make the Pro Bowl team, he was universally rated by everybody as one of the NFLs most productive guards.
Whoever he signs with, this will be Mathis biggest career contract. He made the NFL minimum of 735,000 last year on a one-year deal that he signed on July 30 as training camp opened. A few weeks later, when Herremans was moved out to right tackle, Mathis took over at left guard.
The most Mathis has ever earned is 1.226 million on a one-year deal with the Bengals in 2010. The long-term offers from the Ravens and Eagles for the 30-year-old Mathis both far exceed that in annual average.
If Mathis leaves via free agency, it will be a blow to their hopes for consistency on the offensive line. With veteran Jamaal Jackson released and out of the picture, Julian Vandervelde is the only backup guard on the roster who was with the team last year. Vandervelde was a fifth-round pick last year out of Iowa.
The Eagles also have Zane Davis, who finished the season on their practice squad last year, and Mike Gibson, the Eagles sixth-round pick in 2008 who spent the last three years with the Seahawks, starting eight games.
By signing DeSean Jackson to a long-term deal on Wednesday, the Eagles lowered Jackson's 2012 cap hit from 9.515 million to 3 million, gaining 6.515 in cap savings and increasing their available cap space to 22.385 million under their adjusted 2012 cap of 139,896,748.