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 »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The State Of the O-Line

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ offensive line situation took a hit Thursday evening as the team released Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis.

The move is puzzling because the team had all the leverage here. Mathis was under contract, and as Tim reported, he was planning on showing up to mandatory minicamp next week. Would he have been happy? Maybe not. But Mathis was in the exact same situation last year. He still showed up, played his butt off and was consistent and dependable once again.

Why then cut ties with him when there are no obvious replacements on the roster? Read more »

Eagles Release Evan Mathis

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The Eagles released Evan Mathis on Thursday, league sources confirmed.

The All-Pro guard was unhappy with the five-year, $25.5 million deal he signed back in 2012, and was asking for a raise that paid him closer to what the other top players at his position were making. The Eagles granted agent Drew Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade each of the last two offseasons, but nothing developed.

Mathis stayed away from the voluntary portion of the spring workouts including OTAs, which wrapped Thursday. Next week is the team’s mandatory minicamp. The big question heading in was whether Mathis would show or stand firm and absorb the $60,000 fine. Mathis told us that he did plan on attending minicamp, but does not believe the team was aware of his intentions.

The Eagles, clearly, were ready to move on, and decided to pull the trigger after exhausting their trade options.

Read more »

Players Say ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind’ With Mathis

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Asked about the absence of Evan Mathis, Zach Ertz invoked a saying Jim Harbaugh used during their time together at Stanford.

“I hate to say it, but a college coach of mine said, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, and that’s kind of what we have,” said Ertz. “We have a very good group of offensive linemen. I have a lot of faith in them. Obviously I love Evan, I wish he was here, but at the same time we’re focused on the guys that are here.

“At the beginning of the offseason guys would talk about it, but now that the grind is going ,and we’re running our butts off each and every day. We’re focused on the guys that are out here.” Read more »

Weekend Reading: A Role For Sproles

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here are some Eagles-related links worth checking out this weekend.

Jeff McLane of the Inquirer wonders if Chip Kelly can find a bigger role for Darren Sproles in his offense:

Sproles was second on the team in carries (57) to McCoy (312) during the season, but after [LeSean] McCoy was traded to the Bills and [DeMarco] Murray and [Ryan] Mathews were brought in, Kelly spoke of more evenly distributing the workload.

Performance would seem to be the ultimate decider in how Kelly doles out playing time. But Sproles averaged 2.1 yards per snap to McCoy’s 1.9, 5.8 yards per rush to McCoy’s 4.2, and 9.7 yards per catch to McCoy’s 5.5 last season.
Read more »

Eagles To Check Out G Chris Chester

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

UPDATE: Chester has reportedly signed with the Falcons.

The Eagles are bringing in veteran offensive lineman Chris Chester for a visit, according to Adam Caplan. 

Chester (6-3, 303), a second-round pick by the Ravens back in 2006, has started 111 games over his career, including 46 straight at right guard for Washington the last four years.  He was released by Washington on Wednesday in a move that will reportedly save the team $4 million in cap money.

According to NFL.com, Chester “was an ill fit for Jay Gruden‘s power-blocking scheme and he struggled in 2014.”

Perhaps he would be a better fit in Philly. Read more »

Source: Mathis Absent For Start Of OTAs

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Evan Mathis did not show up for the start of the Eagles’ Organized Team Activities Tuesday, a league source confirmed. CSN’s Derrick Gunn was first with the news.

The Pro Bowl guard has not participated in the team’s offseason training program to date. Spring workouts are voluntary. The first time players are obligated to be in attendance is for the team’s mandatory minicamp from June 16-18. Should he skip those, he’ll face a hefty penalty. Read more »

Eagles Wake-UP Call: OTAs Begin

Chip Kelly

Today marks the start of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) for the Eagles. What are OTAs? Non-contact practices, basically. Now in Phase Three of the offseason conditioning program, the team is allowed to engage in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

A total of 10 practices are permitted over the next several weeks. The Eagles’ OTA schedule breaks down as follows: Read more »

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