FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- As they embark on a right guard competition that could include as many as five players, the New York Jets are monitoring the top free agent guard on the market: Evan Mathis, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Jets have held discussions with Mathis' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, general manager Mike Maccagnan said Saturday. Nothing is imminent. Mathis, 33, is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons.
Obviously, money is the big issue. Mathis, cut by the Eagles in May because of a contract squabble, was due to make $5.5 million this season. He wanted more.
While Mathis waits for someone to meet his asking price, the guard-needy teams are assessing their personnel in camp. The Jets are one of those teams.
"Obviously Evan's a good player, but as this thing plays out a bit, we'll get a better feel for that," Maccagnan said. "The thing is, too, is that Evan might have a value he's looking for right now that may not be in the value that some of the teams want to potentially spend on him. But we'll see how that develops."
It seems like half the roster is getting a shot at the Jets' right guard job. Incumbent Willie Colon returned to practice on Saturday -- removed from the physically unable to perform list -- and got some work with the starters. He shared reps with Brent Qvale. On Friday, Qvale and Brian Winters split the work. Oday Aboushi and Ben Ijalana, whose natural position is tackle, also might get a look before too long.
Get the picture?
"We'll see who's moving the pile, pass-protecting," Todd Bowles said. "We'll see who's consistent enough to be put in that spot."
If no one jumps out after two preseason games, it wouldn't be a surprise if they intensity their interest in Mathis -- if he's still available.