It's been over a week since the Eagles released Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis. There's been a lot of back and forth since the team cut him. Chip Kelly said Mathis' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, asked for the team to cut him while Mathis said he wanted to stay in Philadelphia. Kelly ultimately explained the release of Mathis by citing financial reasons.
Leading up to the release of Mathis, a report from ProFootballTalk indicated the Eagles originally offered the guard a $1 million raise early during the season in 2014. According to the report, however, that offer was later pulled when Chip Kelly took over full control of the team's personnel department.
Now a recent report indicates Mathis wanted much more than $1 million. According to Mark Eckel of NJ.com, Mathis wanted a $3 million raise in 2015.
"Mathis, who was scheduled to earn $5.5 million this year and $6 million next year, was looking for a $3 million raise to $8.5 million this year, someone familiar with the talks told NJ Advance Media. Not authorized to speak publicly on the negotiations, that person requested anonymity.
Had the Eagles given in to Mathis' request, it would have made him the highest paid guard in the league based on average yearly salary."
Howard Eskin originally reported this same tidbit earlier this week:
"Evan Mathis said he did not ask for his release for months, but I was told by sources Mathis wanted 3 million dollar raise. 16M for 2 years."
Assuming the report is true, the Eagles had money to afford Mathis. Philadelphia had about $9 million in available cap space prior to releasing the veteran guard.
Mathis, who turns 34 in November, is projected to be the NFL's oldest starting guard this year assuming he catches on with another team. Several teams are already rumored to have interest, but there doesn't seem to be a rush for him to sign quickly. NFL training camps don't begin until early August.
With Mathis gone, the Eagles are likely planning to start Allen Barbre at left guard.
Mathis reached out to me and said he did not demand a $3 million raise. He also said he was never offered a $1 million raise. Exact words:
"All I asked for in the end was Pro Bowl/All-Pro bonuses that would allow me to reach 8 mil/year. Which is slightly less than top 5 OG APY. But I would have had to earn them."