EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Given the youth the St. Louis Rams are projected to start on their offensive line in 2015, there's not an available solid, veteran option that hasn't been mentioned as a possibility to sign with the team.
So within minutes of the Philadelphia Eagles releasing two-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis Rams fans everywhere began wondering if the team would pursue him. The Rams were rumored to have interest in Mathis via trade back in March, but those rumors were overblown. Now, they aren't likely to make a real run at Mathis unless his price drops.
Considering that the Rams are currently using third-round rookie Jamon Brown at right guard, Mathis would be a logical fit from a purely football perspective.
Mathis has long been considered one of the league's best interior linemen. Even though he's 33, Mathis has gotten better with age. He's been to each of the past two Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro in 2013. For what it's worth, Mathis was Pro Football Focus' second highest-rated guard in 2014 and third-highest rated guard when it comes to run blocking.
From a scheme standpoint, Mathis has proved capable of handling man and zone blocking schemes and would have no trouble fitting in with the Rams in that regard, either.
All of that said, while Mathis might be a good fit for the Rams when it comes to football, there are a number of reasons this isn't a likely match.
First and foremost, the Rams aren't exactly flush with cap space, and Mathis looks to be seeking a payday bigger than what the Rams can likely afford. According to the salary tracker site Spotrac, after signing their remaining eight draft picks, the Rams have about $7 million in cap space. That includes only the top 51 contracts, so the Rams will still have to add two more before the season begins and still need to leave some space to sign a practice squad and for emergencies.
Theoretically, the Rams could probably make signing Mathis work, but even if they wanted to pursue him, they'd probably struggle to come up with the money and the opportunity to win that Mathis will want in a new team.
Mathis counted $5.5 million against the cap in 2014 and was said to be seeking more on a new deal. It's also believed he's going to want a chance to win a championship wherever he lands. Considering that there are many teams -- Seattle, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Minnesota -- with more cap space, a better chance to win or a combination of the two, it seems unlikely that Mathis will land in St. Louis.