After the departure of Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs, the Baltimore Ravens answered some questions along the offensive line by re-signing center Matt Birk to a three-year contract and offered a contract to Philadelphia Eagles free agent guard Evan Mathis.
Birk, 35, had contemplated retirement following the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. However, the 14-year veteran informed the team at the NFL scouting combine that he wanted to continue playing as he set to enter his 15th year in the league.
The deal hasn’t officially been signed yet and Birk still has to pass a physical. Once the deal is signed and he passes his physical, Birk will be the first free agent the Ravens have signed or retained since free agency began last Tuesday.
Birk, who has played his last three seasons in the Charm City, has started 97 consecutive games, the longest active streak among centers.
As for Mathis, he returned to his home in Arizona on Friday after his visit with the Ravens to discuss his options with his family. The Eagles remain a strong possibility for Mathis and they could match the Ravens’ offer.
Mathis, 30, is the top guard remaining in free agency now that Grubbs has signed with the New Orleans Saints on a five-year, $36 million deal ($10 million guaranteed).
The 6-foot-5, 300 pounder was selected in the third-round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers and has also played for the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals. Mathis has started 37 career games, but thrived last year in his first season with the Eagles, allowing no sacks and committing just one holding penalty. In fact, the last time Mathis allowed a sack was six years ago.
While the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins have been reported to be in the running for Mathis, he’s expected to choose between the Ravens and the Eagles.