On Friday, April 4th, the Redskins have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent Wide Receiver Jerome Mathis.
Mathis was originally selected by the Houston Texans in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of Hampton. While with Hampton, he broke the NCAA record for career kickoff return average, averaging 26.6 yards. He also holds the NCAA record for career kickoff returns for a touchdown with six. He also made the Pro Bowl as a Kickoff returner his rookie year.
Now, make no mistake, this signing is an intersting one, and not just for one reason.
First, there are his legal issues. Mathis has been in trouble with the law twice. Once for an over aggressive Pit Bull and the other for allegedly assaulting his pregnant common law wife. (The charges were later dropped at her request.
While his rap sheet isn't alarming, per say, it still should be noted that he has had two run-ins with the law and he could be a character risk.
Legal issues aside, the Redskins already have a competent kick returner in Rock Cartwright, who the team just re-signed to multi-year contract. Granted, the contract was not a blockbuster, but it also wasn't the type of contract that would allow the Redskins to just cast him off.
Is there something else to this signing or is it just roster fodder?
Could it be that the vague rumors of Ladell Betts being on the block are true?
If Betts were traded, and Rock was shifted to Clinton Portis' primary backup, then I could see the need for a new kick returner.
To me, it has to be either that, or, that the Redskins clearly just want someone to push Rock Cartwright to improve even more.