The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis to a contract Thursday, who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. Terms of the contract were not undisclosed, via team’s press release. However, according to the Associated Press, Mathis’ deal could be worth $5 million if he plays in all 16 regular season games for the Jaguars next season.
Mathis has been productive throughout his NFL career coming from Bethune-Cookman University. Mathis was selected in the second round (39th overall) by the Jaguars in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Mathis ranks fourth in franchise history with 125 starts. He and center Brad Meester (2000) are the longest-tenured Jaguars on the roster.
The 6-1, 193-pound cornerback holds franchise records with 30 career interceptions, three interception returns for touchdowns, 512 interception return yards, and 35 takeaways.
For his NFL career, Mathis also registered 538 tackles, the sixth-most in team history, along with four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 103 passes defensed, and 13 tackles for loss.
The Jacksonville native has been hampered with injuries for the past four seasons and for the 2011 campaign, Mathis started the first nine games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 13 against the Colts in Indianapolis.
If the Associated Press’ report is correct about his deal, Mathis’ past injuries is the reason why his new contract is incentive-laden.
By avoiding free agency, which would have required traveling, Mathis can continue rehabbing in Florida and focus on getting healthy. He had surgery three months ago to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee.
According to reports, Mathis is expecting to be ready for the team’s training camp starting in July.
Despite missing the final seven games, Mathis, 31, finished the season leading the team with 12 passes defensed, while adding 36 tackles, one interception, one tackle for loss, and one fumble recovery.
Mathis is a two-time Pro Bowler (2006, 2007) started 74 consecutive games to begin his career before missing two games in 2007, the second-longest streak in franchise history.
He has recorded three of the four longest interception returns in team history, including a 72-yard return for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 5, 2008.