The Eagles' offseason created buzz around the league for the amount of moves made by Chip Kelly, who was granted general manager powers earlier in the year. Since being put in charge of the front office, Kelly has remade good portions of the team to better reflect his personality and ideal style of play. One area that reflects this change most drastically is along the offensive line, where the Eagles released both starting guards, Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis.
As part of a series for NJ Advance Media, Mark Eckel spoke with "one of the league's top executives" about the state of the Eagles' offensive line. In that piece, the executive doesn't seem to have an issue with the team jettisoning their long-time starters at guard:
"I don't know how much either one of them has left,'' the executive said of the 30-something guards. "Herremans had a nice career, but you look at the past few years he wasn't the same. Then, he got hurt last year.
"(Mathis), that's the craziest thing I ever saw. He either got the worst advice from an agent ever, or he made the dumbest mistake ever. You watch him last year? He's just a guy at this point. Why do you think he hasn't been signed?"
One interesting nugget here is that, while the executive sees both guards as "JAGs", clearly the entire league doesn't agree. Herremans, who recently posed in the buff for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue, signed with the Colts 10 days after being released by the Eagles. Of course, the Colts front office is managed by former Eagles employee Ryan Grigson, which likely had something to do with the move.
The executive's "craziest thing I ever saw" quote no doubt refers to the fallout that resulted from the Eagles releasing Mathis. While he has yet to sign with a team, the Eagles didn't exactly do any favors by releasing the All Pro guard at the end of OTAs. Most teams have their 90-man rosters set by now, and Mathis figures to be one of the first players to get a call in the event a team loses a starting interior lineman. It's also unclear, at this point, whether Mathis has fielded any calls, and is simply waiting for the right situation.
As for the Eagles, they will go into training camp with no clear-cut starters at guard. Smart money looks to be on Matt Tobin and Allen Barbre getting those spots, but newcomer John Moffitt could provide a challenge, as well as veterans like Dennis Kelly or Andrew Gardner.
Prior to his release, Herremans was one of the longest tenured players on the team. The Saginaw Valley State product was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Mathis was signed during the 2011 offseason (which totally didn't have a nickname or anything) and quickly became a fan favorite.