I covered before how the Ravens could be interested in All-Pro guard Evan Mathis. We all know it is a long shot, but the Ravens are absolutely interested in the former Philadelphia Eagle in one way. They want to know what Mathis is going to get on his contract and then use that as leverage against current Ravens Marshall Yanda and Kelechi Osemele.
The Ravens have made it no secret that they are looking to extend both of their guards for the long-term. Marshall Yanda will likely see his last major contract while Kelechi Osemele will be seeing his first after his rookie deal expires after this season. While Mathis is an All-Pro offensive guard, he is also 33 years old right now. That puts him 3 years older than Yanda and significantly older than Osemele. So the Ravens can't copy the contract spec for spec, but use it as a guideline for what to give to Yanda and Osemele.
The positive note for the Baltimore Ravens and Ozzie Newsome is that Mathis isn't drawing nearly as much interest on the open market as you would think for one of the best guards in football. It is late in the offseason and most offensive lines are set, unless you are Chip Kelly and someone wants to challenge your ability to cut everyone in your path. It is rumored that about a half dozen teams are interested in Mathis, but there is a lack of offers flooding in, usually meaning that teams are gauging what they really want to pay right now... not usually a good thing for the free agent player.
Mathis was going to earn $5.5 million this season with the Eagles but was holding out for a longer term deal that would up his yearly salary. The highest paid guard in the league is Logan Mankins, earning an average salary of $8.5 million per year. However, the highest guaranteed contract belongs to Mike Iupati with $22.5 million over 5 years. Mathis, Yanda and Osemele will all be looking to be in the top 5 of guard contracts. They are likely looking for a 5 year deal for around $40 million with a guarantee of $20 million. As we've seen with contracts across the board, these deals are usually back loaded, so the guaranteed cash is the most important part of the deal.
If Mathis starts a trend too far below that baseline, the Ravens could capitalize on it to sign their two guards for a lot less than even they expected. Of course, it could go the opposite way if Mathis gets a contract above this. That would push Yanda to go for the highest contract for a guard title and likely get it from someone.