With the start of organized team activities (OTA's) beginning next week, is it possible the Jacksonville Jaguars could be facing a potential hold out? Based on some information from some of my sources and rumblings that I have heard, it is very possible that a certain veteran cornerback could be holding out for a new contract this off-season when mandatory work outs begin.
In 2005 Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis signed a 5-year contract extension worth $25.5 million with $9.4 million guaranteed, just two seasons after he was drafted. Mathis continued being a highly productive player after he signed the contract, making the Pro-Bowl in the 2006 season and was the 1st alternate for the Pro-Bowl in the 2007 season. He holds Jaguars franchise records with 28 career interceptions, 3 interception returns for touchdowns, 441 interception return yards, and 28 takeaways. Mathis ranked 4th in the NFL from 2003-2008 in interceptions with 25.
If you look back at the 2003 draft class of cornerbacks, there are only two other players you could argue have had a better career than Rashean Mathis; Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders and Astante Samuel of the Philadelphia Eagles. Terrance Newman was also a Top 10 pick in the 2003 draft.
In 2008 during free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Asante Samuel to a 6-year $56 million contract. Also in 2008, the Dallas Cowboys extended Terrance Newman with a 6-year $50.2 million contract. Before the 2009 season the Oakland Raiders gave Nnamdi Asomugha a blockbuster contract of 3-years, $45.3 million with $28.5 million in guaranteed money. The guaranteed money in that contract alone is more than Rashean Mathis contract in it's entirety.
All of these contracts dwarf the contract Rashean Mathis signed in 2005. The Jaguars played it smart. They knew they had a very talented player at a premium position. Maths was also a fan favorite given he played high school football at Englewood High School in Jacksonville, Florida and went to college at Bethune Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Jaguars offered Mathis at the time what looked like a sizable contract and locked him up for the long haul. Fast forward, and you can see Mathis is playing for the Jaguars on the cheap.
If you look at all four players, Mathis ranks right up with all of them. Nnamdi Asomugha, I think we can all agree is the best of the bunch, but after that you can make an argument for Mathis over any of them. That is part of the problem, Mathis makes half as much as any of them and he's just as good. Not to mention that out of that draft class, only Asante Samuel of the Eagles has more career interceptions than Mathis.
There are rumblings Mathis could be a hold out for a new contract during some of the mandatory work outs. With some glaring holes in the secondary and nothing secure at the cornerback position after Derek Cox, look for Rashean Mathis to try and make a power play for one last payday from the Jacksonville Jaguars.