Thanks to Mathis and incumbent starting guard Mike Iupati, the Cardinals should be able to control the ground game.
Because he’s now on his third team in three seasons, there may be a perception that Mathis has slipped into veteran journeyman territory. Forget it. A messy contract situation pushed him out the door in Philadelphia, despite a Pro Bowl showing in 2013 and a forceful close to ’14 after he returned from a knee injury. The Eagles’ loss was the Broncos’ gain—Mathis stepped into Gary Kubiak’s system last season and again showed why he is a top option. He excelled as a run blocker in Denver despite a nagging ankle injury that eventually required surgery after Super Bowl. His pass protection sagged some, with three sacks and 19 hurries credited to him, although all of Denver’s O-line numbers were hindered by the QB play in ‘15. That said, it’s more of his growing list of injuries and age (he’ll be 35 in November) that prevented him from being even higher on this list. Thanks to Mathis and incumbent starting guard Mike Iupati, the Cardinals should be able to control the ground game.