Super Bowl 50 will see the Carolina Panthers taking on former Panther Evan Mathis
Drafting right and getting to Super Bowl 50 is hard enough. For the Carolina Panthers, sometimes nothing hurts like the one that got away. This can refer to draft misses or draft busts or final cuts that turned out great for some other team.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN spent some time writing about the ten Panther decisions that got the franchise to this point. The first thing he mentioned was the draft that brought Thomas Davis to the team, but the Panthers took one other player of note in that draft: Evan Mathis.
The NFL is a funny league. Sometimes players don’t make final rosters of a team with depth at their position and they end up somewhere else and productive. Often times it is the divisional rivals who take interest since they see a certain player more often than others. Sometimes players end up back on a team that cut them, like Robert McClain did.
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And sometimes they become All-Pros. This is what ultimately happened to Mathis. Remember the All-Time Panther team? Remember how right guard was the position that was kind of on the weak side. Trai Turner has put some of that issue to rest, but if Mathis had stayed with the Panthers and progressed as he did he would be one occupying that spot.
Of course it didn’t happen. The former Alabama guard left the Panthers after the 2007 season and spent a couple of years with the Dolphins and the Bengals. In 2011 he went to the Philadelphia Eagles and this is where he became an All-Pro. Ironically his best two seasons with the Eagles came under the leadership of Chip Kelly. Kelly refused to pay Mathis big money and outright cut the guard before the season.
No biggie, Mathis just went to the Denver Broncos and is now part of the offensive line that will try to protect Peyton Manning from the Panthers’ defensive pressure. So it seems to have come full circle and if the Panthers want to win their first Super Bowl, they will have to go through former player Evan Mathis.
The Panthers play the Broncos on February 7.