Eagles Release Evan Mathis

In the midst of a contract dispute, the Eagles have released Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis. The Eagles had reportedly offered Mathis additional money for the 2015 and 2016 seasons as a reward for his play with the team in 2014, but then pulled the offer. Mathis said the offer was pulled following a shakeup of the Eagles front office in which head coach Chip Kelly took power from general manger Howie Roseman.  There were rumors that Mathis would be traded but the deal never happened which seemed to only make the situation worse, so this was probably the easiest solution for Philadelphia rather than dragging it on through the summer. 

If the Eagles did indeed have an offer for Mathis last season you can understand his frustration over the process. Often there are times when players incorrectly think they are earning some kind of salary increase based on some very unofficial discussions with football ops, but in this case they may have been legit. It would make sense that they did have those discussions since the Eagles did give linebacker Connor Barwin a similar backend contract raise following his terrific 2014 season. The fact that Barwin’s contract was amended and Mathis’ was not would certainly infuriate the player.

Releasing Mathis will save the Eagles $5.5 million this season. They will carry $1 million in dead money charges in 2015 and 2016.  Mathis’ salary this season ranked eighth in the NFL  among active players that  we have categorized as left guard. He is now a free agent and free to sign with any team. I would guess his asking price will be around $6.5 million such that he earns his Eagles contract plus whatever raise he felt he was set to earn.

That said I would imagine the Eagles tried shopping him around at the $5.5 million price tag and found no takers so it may be a lesser market than expected if that is the case. Last year the Patriots were able to pawn off Logan Mankins and a $6.25 million salary to the Buccaneers, but may not have had any other takers besides Tampa, who was desperate for a lineman. The Eagles may have had better luck in the preseason to move him, but it would have been a messy situation to wait that long on a hope someone would bite when nobody had thus far.

Most teams in the NFL should be able to afford Mathis to play for them. Since he is closer to the end of his career, he would likely do a short term deal and teams could extend bonus prorations out over five years by using void provisions. I would guess if you have $2 million in cap room you can make the deal work.  The only teams in the NFL that would really be hard pressed to make a move would be the Saints and Chiefs.

  • McGeorge

    Zach,
    This is the kind of thing an agent should try and protect against.
    It will be hard for Mathis to get a decent contract now because it’s late in the off season.

    Some kind of roster bonus , causing him to get cut 2 months ago would have been beneficial to him.

    Maybe the Jets can get him instead of Willie Colon.

    • theowl

      Yes, I went through the list of possible teams he could land on. And although there are quite a few contenders, with cap space, that could use an upgrade at guard (Colts, Patriots, Broncos…), most of those teams have plans in place already. The 49ers could use their Anthony Davis money for Mathis, and move Boone to tackle. But with Boone upset with his salary, how would he handle a Mathis signing. Seahawks, of course, but they need to figure out contracts for Wilson and Wagner… plus they don’t care about blocking with Tarkenton and Jim Brown in the backfield.

  • theowl

    Best guard in the NFL. He is 33, but has yet to decline. According to his PFF numbers, Mathis was the 3rd best pass blocker behind Sitton and Z. Martin, and the 2nd best run blocker behind Yanda. If the one dimensional Iupati can get 8 mil per, what is Mathis worth for 3 more years? I have a hunch he wasn’t traded because wanted a new contract. He was a steal at his old numbers… I would have given a minimum of a 4th rounder for him. I would go 3 years for 6 mil per, easy. I guess you can tell I like him, and I am not not even high on green tea!

    • John.Keiter

      How do you figure 5.5 mil for an interior lineman is “a steal” – especially when he is 34 when the season starts? Iupati was overpaid just like any other top URFA is (not to mention he’s 6 years younger than Mathis). You’re just as delusional as Mathis if you think he’s getting an 18 mil deal over 3 years. Great player, but started showing his age last year with missing nearly half the season. Things don’t typically get better for a player as they age.

      • theowl

        Currently there are about 10 guards making an average of 6 mil or more. And 12 making more than 5.5 mil. I think only Sitton and Yanda are in Mathis’s class. Mathis’s contract, if traded before he was released, would have been a year-to-year, two year contract with no guaranteed money. You don’t think his play next year is worth 5.5 mil? Do you really think his drop off will be that great? We aren’t talking a long term contract, with a salary bonus. Do you think that somehow in 6 years Iupati will learn to become an elite pass blocker. There is a far greater chance Mathis will be one of the top 5 guards in the NFL next year than Iupati… and it would have been for far less.

        As for 6 mil over 3 years now… It would depend on the guaranteed money. He would probably be locked in for 2 years. Conservatively, I think he will be one of the top 8 guards for the next two years. If he were would 6 mil a year be worth it?

        • John

          Dude you’re just totally biased… mathis was a nobody before he got to park his ass next to peters. It’s like saying would you have paid Mathis 8 mil a year when he was 28? The answers no bc he was a complete nobody journeyman. Now I’m not saying he isn’t good, but no one in their right mind would pick an aging G over a guy in his 20s; outside of you. Did Mathis play well enough last year to warrant 5.5mil? No bc he was hurt.

          It’s odd how almost every analyst or sports radio host has said he will never get more than what he was making in philly, yet you think so differently. There’s a reason you’re a fan and not a decision maker for any team.

          • theowl

            Ha! You are probably right. I have to say, I have never been accused of being a fan before. As for being Biased… what, am I biased against younger players? I can think of a bunch of aging QBs I would take over Dalton. There are quite a few young guards I like more than Iupati… Maybe you like Iuapati a lot… I watched him last year, and he had trouble pass blocking. Only one other guard gave up as much as 7 sacks. In my opinion he is good, but I wouldn’t pay him 5 mil a year.

            How was Mathis in Cincinnati? How about 2012? Peters was injured the entire year, and Mathis had a monster year. I am not even going to reverse your argument, because I know Peters was great before he got to Philly… I’m sure you get the point.

            Mathis was 28 in the offseason of 2010… after a strong year in 2009, he was injured for most of 2010 with the Bengals. Philly signed him to a one year contract, he had perhaps the best year of any guard, and in 2112 they gave him 5 mil per year over 5 years. Over his time with the Eagles, I think he has been the best guard in the league.

            Back when Mathis was 28, I wouldn’t have paid any guard 8 mil. Today, after the rise in the salary cap, I might pay him 8 mil per year at 29 years of age, when Philly paid him his 5. Interesting how the highest contracts at each guard position were by two of the best 4 or 5 salary cap front offices. And the Packers, a third top front office, compensates both their guards quite well. So, how much would you pay a 31 year old Yanda next year.?

            If you are worried about injuries, put de-escalators in the contract. I think if Mathis played healthy for two years he would be worth 6 mil per. If you don’t like him after two, release him. Iupati, with his current contract, won’t get released before he gets 24 mil after 3 years.

            I am not saying Mathis will get 6 mil per. That is what I would pay. Just an opinion. Is it a bad thing to think differently? Do you always agree with the majority?

            As to the reason I am a fan and not a decision maker… I made that choice when I quit coaching and became a documentary filmmaker/photographer. What’s yours…

          • John

            Not an iupati fan at all. He is like every other URFA, overpaid because he was considered the best available. The point to my Mathis comment at 28 is he was relatively garbage at 28. Mudd being the line coach in Philly at the time and being next to Peters (regardless of his one year without him) is what made him better… Also you couldn’t really reverse the argument about peters because he was amazing before philly which is why the bills got a 1st round pick for him from Philly. Mathis definitely had 3 great years and one good year last year, but no ones gonna be calling for him to be a first ballet HoFer like they will Peters

  • eddiea

    Well,i guess this should de-bunk McCoy’s “racist” rant. What it should do is remind ppl of reason teams stopped giving HC the GM duties too. That is if Eagles flop. Still,waiting this long to release him shows Kelly has no respect for any player especially good ones. As a Skins fan i trully hope Eagles “crash and burn” if only to prove to Kelly his “Way” isn’t right when dealing with men who have families to care for. It works in college and yoy have total power over a kid.I just ddon’t see how you get the most by “scaring” them into doing what you think is the only way to do it. Especially when you’ve never won anything of significance (championships) on any level.

  • RegisHawk

    The Seahawks are still working on contracts for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, so I don’t see them being in the hunt for Mathis either. I suppose they might bring him in, kick the tires and make a modest offer, but it won’t be for what he’s expecting to make.

    • Nick Peters

      1 year loaded deal…..and then maybe drop a 1st rounder on interior lineman…

  • wscaddie56

    The quicker the eagles fire this guy the better, he is in way over his head and apparently just sunk deeper with these gm duties. I’m sure chip is well liked and respected in that locker room.