With Eagles mini camp starting today, Chip Kelly addressed reporters late this morning. The biggest topic of discussion was of course the release of Evan Mathis last Thursday. "We were asked by his agent for his release on multiple occasions. We weren't going to come to a conclusion on a contract extension." Kelly told reporters. "We weren't going to extend any contract or adjust any contracts. We granted him what his agent asked for." Kelly also said that they held on to him to see if there was a trade market after the draft.
Mathis quickly responded, via NJ.com:
Although Mathis declined to offer formal comment, the former Eagles guard informed NJ Advance Media that he did everything he could to remain in Philadelphia.
Mathis went as far as to bypass both his agent and top personnel executive Ed Marynowitz, reaching out to Kelly personally in an attempt to make things work.
It was at that point Mathis was informed by Kelly that the head coach did not handle contracts and giving him a new deal was out of his control, despite the fact the head coach has been given complete control of the entire personnel department.
Additionally, the report that Mathis turned down an offer to raise his salary was refuted:
The Eagles did make Mathis an offer last year, but it was not the $2 million in total money on top of his current contract that is being reported. Instead, the team's offer focused on performance bonuses, such as being named to the Pro Bowl or earning All-Pro honors, totaling a little over $1 million in extra money over two seasons. The offer contained little-to-no additional guaranteed money.
Quite the he said/he said. For what it's worth, Mathis did confirm that Rosenhaus discussed the Eagles releasing him, but did not request it after initially bringing it up in March.
Evan Mathis tells me "It was Drew saying, "If you're not willing to redo his deal, why wouldn't you release him?" In March. #Eagles— John Clark CSN (@JClarkCSN) June 16, 2015
Chip Kelly has said that Evan Mathis asked to be released but Mathis says Drew Rosenhaus mentioned a release only in March.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) June 16, 2015
Since the Eagles were not interested in retaining Mathis, the best option for him to get one was to be released in March when the free agent market was at its peak. But considering there was at least some trade interest during the draft, keeping him through it and immediately after did make sense. But the draft was over a month ago and the Eagles reportedly did not shop Mathis around prior to cutting him. They also apparently had no interest in retaining his services this season.
Evan Mathis tells me Chip didnt ask Evan if he was coming to minicamp before releasing him. Evan says he was coming pic.twitter.com/ElqIkGLJ0P— John Clark CSN (@JClarkCSN) June 16, 2015
Stay tuned for Kelly's response.