Rashean Mathis will visit the Detroit Lions on Saturday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The former longtime Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback has been on the free agent market since March. The Jags opted not to re-sign Mathis when his contract expired.
The Lions' first two preseason games exposed a need for help in the defensive backfield. Against the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, two of the league's worst passing attacks from a year ago, Detroit gave up 395 yards passing and four touchdowns with just one interception to first- or second-string passers playing limited action. Even the return of Ron Bartell from a shoulder injury could not keep the Lions from getting shredded by Brandon Weeden on Thursday night.
Age may have played a part in Mathis' departure from the Jags -- he will be 33 years old by the time the 2013 regular season begins -- but there is little denying that he was one of the most steadfast players in the franchise's history. Over the course of 10 seasons, Mathis set a franchise record with 30 interceptions. He was named All-Pro in 2006 after notching eight picks and 20 passes defended.
Mathis may have lost a step in recent years. He has missed 11 regular season games over the last two seasons due to injuries. That said, he could make an immediate impact in the Lions secondary, even if he only plays a mentor role. Behind a starting corner duo of Bartell and Chris Houston, the Lions are currently relying on young players like rookie Darius Slay and 2012 third-round draft pick Bill Bentley for depth.