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Gene Smith vs. Rashean Mathis: Why Mathis wants his money now.

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There is a crucial point that seems to getting lost in the shuffle of Mathis-gate. One of the reasons this is all occurring now, happens to be that Gene Smith has shown a heartless and cold attitude toward a number longtime Jaguars' mainstays. Although this had to be done, the purge has definitely left those remaining realizing that they have to get paid now, because it may be their last season as a Jaguar. Henderson, Taylor, and Brian Williams were all do large paydays, and all were released without hesitation. This was the right play to make, but you have to know it has a lasting effect on those players who were "left behind".

Could it be the way the Jaguars have been run as a team these last two years that has players scared for their jobs?

Gene Smith's approach is the correct one to take, as he is clearly putting the organization above any individual player. However, this leaves the players thinking they must now look out for themselves, because the team is clearly not. Rashean Mathis may not be convinced that he'll be here for the duration of his contract, albeit only 2 more seasons. Perhaps Gene will blink and cave to Rashean's demands. Perhaps Mathis will voice his silent protest during OTA's and show up ready to go at training camp.

Gene's got all the power in this situation, and will want a positive precedent set against future players wanting to hold out. Gene is trying to run the organization as thriftily as possible, and one can't blame him after all of the money wasted prior to his ascension to the top of the Jaguars food-chain. If Rashean gets anything, it will be from the good graces of Gene, and it won't be much. However, don't read into Jack Del Rio's comment that Rashean won't get a new deal. Jack has no power over personnel and is really playing outside his "sandbox". Forget what the coach says, Gene's got the Conn.

Rashean can't be demonized or blamed for his behavior either. He's been a top-flight corner and has been one of the best players on the defense next to Daryl Smith. His injuries have hurt his stock, and likely have him thinking that his shelf life is shortened. He's got to be thinking that if he goes down again for a period, he'll likely be cut and have to sign a "prove it" contract with another team for one year. Mathis wants his money now, and he deserves it... The question is, will it happen? Not likely.

-Collin Streetman