What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here is what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Cornerback Byron Maxwell, a Charleston native, discussed last week’s shootings in Robert Klemko’s Monday Morning Quarterback:

“When it happens in your hometown, you have a different perspective,” Maxwell told me by phone Thursday night. “When it’s about race, it affects everybody. Honestly, that could’ve been my family. He could’ve walked in anybody’s church and did that. It’s hard to accept that.”

“At first you feel shock. Anger. Disgust. Then the next question is, what do we do about it?” he said. “How do we stop things like this from happening?” Read more »

On Evan Mathis Release: Is Chip Kelly’s Ego Killing the Eagles?

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

In the ripest days of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was ruled by dictators named Khrushchev and Brezhnev, a dissident voice would be punished by a variety of human humiliations. “If you weren’t with us, you were against us,” was the refrain. And whispers in a potato line could get a family shipped to warm and friendly Siberia.

I thought about that a lot this week as I watched and listened to Philadelphia Eagles players support head coach Chip Kelly’s banishment of offensive guard Evan Mathis. See, in the world of professional sports, it’s odd to hear players turn their backs on teammates in times of contract squabbles. Players are normally in this fight together, brothers in arms, strengthened further by their own brotherhood union. Read more »

Kelce On Mathis: ‘They Didn’t Want the Distraction’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

 Jason Kelce said that there was more of an “underlying tone” to the Evan Mathis contract protests this time around, one that apparently clashed with the symphonic harmony emanating from One NovaCare Way.

“Last year there was some under-the-radar talks about it, stuff that was going on in the media, but nothing really concrete and he never really let it take place in front of the team or anything like that so it wasn’t a distraction,” said Kelce. “At this point obviously he would have missed all of OTAs. It was a much bigger deal throughout the season at this point.”

It was no surprise to Kelce, then, that Mathis was cut out of equation. Same for the rest of the Eagles players we talked to.

This week’s minicamp will wrap on Thursday, marking the end of the offseason conditioning program. Mathis was absent all spring. While everything save the minicamp is voluntary, several of his teammates suggested that he was in violation of an unwritten code of conduct. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Tuesday’s minicamp practice.

11:22 – Before we get started, a few final thoughts on the Evan Mathis situation. Chip Kelly said Tuesday that Mathis’ camp asked for a release, and so the team gave him what he wanted.

Put quite simply, that request isn’t (or shouldn’t be) really relevant. Mathis was under contract. He was unhappy last year, but still showed up to all mandatory practices, rehabbed a midseason injury and played his butt off. Mathis says he was basically prepared to do the same thing again this year.

The Eagles had leverage. I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect all 53 guys to be happy with their contracts every offseason. And it’s certainly dangerous to give in every time a player asks for his release because he’s unhappy with his deal.

Maybe the coaches know something about the backups that most of us don’t, and the offensive line will be fine.

Or maybe the team will come to regret saying goodbye to a quality starting guard when one of the big goals for 2015 is to rely on the run game and keep Sam Bradford upright. Read more »

Chip Kelly, Mathis Address Release

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Evan Mathis didn’t want to play for the Eagles at his current salary, so Chip Kelly cut him loose.

That was the explanation Kelly gave to the assembled media prior to the start of minicamp Tuesday.

“We were asked by his agent for a release on multiple occasions,” he said. “We weren’t going to come to a conclusion in terms of a contract extension, we weren’t going to extend any contract or adjust any contract, so we granted what his agent asked for.” Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Fletcher Cox

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB offers thoughts on Evan Mathis.

I think the biggest surprise of the Evan Mathis release is that the Eagles couldn’t recoup some value for him via trade. The $5.5 million salary must have been a non-starter, but his price tag could creep pretty high for interested teams in free agency. The fact that Chip Kelly made the move nonetheless, proves how committed he is to doing things his way.

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Questionable Call By Kelly

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

A quick survey of the landscape reveals that there are contract disputes occurring all across the NFL this offseason.

Dez Bryant is threatening to be a no-show for the season opener if he doesn’t have a long-term contract by July 15. Unhappy with the team’s decision to place the franchise tag on him, Demaryius Thomas boycotted Denver’s offseason training program — including last week’s mandatory minicamp.

Tampa offensive tackle Demar Dotson is in search of a new deal and opted to skip OTAs. Same for Niners offensive lineman Alex Boone.

Seahawks’ defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who signed a four-year, $28.5 million deal ($16 million guaranteed) in 2014, wants Seattle to give him a new contract that will make him one of the top-eight paid players at his position. He missed OTAs. Ditto Chargers safety Eric Weddle, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett and Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson.

Evan Mathis, in other words, was not alone in his contractual protests. The only thing that makes him unique among this group is that his team — more precisely, his head coach — responded to the protests by cutting him. Read more »

NFC East Roundup: Giants Suitors For Mathis?

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles made headlines Thursday when they released Evan Mathis. Could he remain in the division? A look at what is being said around the NFC East.

The Giants as listed as one of four possible suitors by Around the NFL.

Nick Powell of NJ.com writes of the Giants’ potential interest:

Mathis, even at age 33, is a two-time Pro Bowl guard coming off a season in which he was the second-highest rated guard in the entire league, according to Pro Football Focus, with a robust +25.8 rating and a run blocking score of +17.3.

So it stands to reason that the Giants could use a player of Mathis’ ilk on their offensive line, which, despite plenty of tinkering over the last two seasons, is far from settled. The Giants have four offensive linemen who figure to start: Justin Pugh and first round pick Ereck Flowers at right and left tackle, Weston Richburg at center, and Geoff Schwartz at one of the guard spots.

Rich Tandler of CSN Washington explores the possibility of the Redskins signing Mathis:

A year ago, Eagles coach Chip Kelly decided to let go of DeSean Jackson, who was one of the best wide receivers in the league. Kelly said that letting Jackson go was a football decision, although clearly financial and other factors played into it. The Redskins moved quickly to sign Jackson, who clearly relished the chance to play against the Eagles twice a year. Read more »

Herremans: Mathis ‘Brought It Upon Himself’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Todd Herremans joined 97.5 The Fanatic Friday and weighed in on the Eagles’ decision to release Evan Mathis.

“I think it’s very unfortunate how it all went down,” he said. “I think it’s tough not to add any offensive linemen and then get rid of both of your starting guards in one offseason. But Chip’s got a plan — nobody knows what it is (chuckles) — but he’s got a plan and he’s putting it into action.

“I think it’s kind of unfortunate for Evan. I think he kind of brought it upon himself, though, by not showing up. We expect them to stick to the contract that they offer us, that they sign us to, and they expect us to do the same. If you’re going to violate some of the things that are expected out of you then you have to be able to deal with what comes next.”
Read more »

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