2015 NFL Free Agency Preview: Top 5 Cornerbacks

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Nov 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis (31) against the Miami Dolphins at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

5. Rashean Mathis

Pros: seasoned pro that’s seen it all but continues to play at a high level. Mathis has a great combination of size and speed, and combines it with a physicality and cover skills that make him still one of the better corners in the game. He has great upper-body strength to engage receivers in press, as well as be a contributor against the run, and he still shows that he has enough speed to run with NFL wideouts down the field.

Cons: he will be 35 when the regular season starts, and there’s no telling how much longer he’ll be able to play at a high level. He’s at best a one or two year starter before he gets too old and slow to play the position. He’s already not the corner he was when he was a first-team All-Pro in 2006, and there’s no telling if he’ll even be the corner he was in 2014 next year.

Scheme fit: Mathis spent his first nine seasons in the NFL playing on Jack Del Rio’s defense in Jacksonville as his number one cornerback. Mathis knows Del Rio’s system well, and is perfectly built to be a press-man corner with help, as well as play bail zone (Ken Norton’s background). He probably would be lower on this list if he weren’t such a perfect fit for Del Rio.

Market Value: Mathis isn’t going to get paid a whole lot because he’s 35 years old, but he’s still playing well so he’s going to get a deal somewhere. He’ll probably get Charles Woodson money, so look for him to get a one year deal for $4M or so.

Would he sign with the Raiders: Yes. Mathis knows Jack Del Rio very well and played for him for years, he may want one more run with his old head coach before hanging it up. He’s also going to be available for a cheap, short contract, which Reggie McKenzie would love. Don’t be surprised.

Next up: Safeties