So, they can’t possibly be panicking about their left guard position after just one bad preseason game, can they?
Even though Pete Carroll says he is not concerned because he expected the young linemen to take time to develop, the team’s moves this week sure make it sound like alarm bells are going off at VMAC.
First, the Hawks moved Justin Britt from right tackle to left guard and inserted Garry Gilliam at right tackle, and now they reportedly are going to bring in former Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis for a visit Saturday.
Is it desperation or just prudence?
It seems very unlikely that they will end up signing Mathis, unless the 33-year-old is willing to play for much less than the
$5 million a year he reportedly has been seeking since the Eagles cut him in June.
Meanwhile, the Hawks clearly are hoping the Britt-Gilliam switch fixes what ailed the unit vs. Denver. They will find out tonight in Kansas City.
Of his recalibrated O-line, Carroll said, “This is about them communicating really well. Talent-wise, we’re OK. We need to make sure this unit is coming together, so I’m anxious to see how they do. Things looked very good in practice.
“I think we’re in really good shape. We’ll get better. We’re going to continue to improve as we move through this.”
That doesn’t sound like a coach who is panicking. Nor should he be.
So, if the Mathis visit is not desperation, it’s just due diligence — perhaps pending the play of the line in Kansas City.
If the Britt-Gilliam move settles the unit, the Hawks probably won’t be interested in Mathis. Even if they are, it seems highly unlikely they would be able to work out a deal. The Hawks have just $5 million in cap space (not counting Kam Chancellor’s $4.55 million, which won’t count until he reports) and need to reserve about $4 million of that for in-season moves. To sign Mathis to even a $2 million contract would require shuffling another contract (unless Chancellor remained out), and Mathis seems unlikely to settle for so little, especially with other teams reportedly in the mix.
If Mathis somehow did decide to join the Hawks on a cheap one-year deal, the question then would become: Would Britt move back to right tackle or suddenly become a backup?
It’s not a question the Hawks likely will need to answer, though.