Evan Mathis signing is a big upgrade for Arizona's O-line
What it means for the Cardinals: So this was the Cardinals’ plan when they traded away Jonathan Cooper Tuesday to New England in exchange for Chandler Jones. It’s an unquestioned upgrade, even though Mathis will turn 35 during the 2016 season. Mathis has been by far our highest-graded guard by far over the past five seasons, and even after a slow start he showed no sign of slowing down a year ago. From Week 3 on, no guard in the NFL graded higher.
As far is fit goes, though, this it will be definitely be a change for Mathis. In Philadelphia and Denver he made a name for himself as one of the best zone guards in the league, winning with his athleticism and control. Arizona on the other hand runs a lot of gap schemes that focus on generating movement on double teams at the point of attack. That’s not to say that Mathis can’t do it, just that it will be interesting to see how he adjusts.
What it means for the Broncos: Expect Denver’s draft to be heavy with offensive linemen. They are painfully thin at the moment and are banking on second year players Ty Sambrailo and Max Garcia to take big steps forward. Garcia is in line to replace Mathis, and while he looks more comfortable at guard than he did at center in college, he was still a liability at times in pass protection. His 40.0 pass blocking grade was one of the worst among guards last year.