The worst kept secret of the Eagles’ 2017 offseason has been that Ryan Mathews is going to be released when he gets healthy. And if you were starting to think that the Eagles might just keep him, Philadelphia eliminated that thought when they agreed to terms with veteran running back LeGarrette Blount on Wednesday.
Signing LeGarrette Blount probably winds up sealing the deal on Ryan Mathews' departure from Eagles once he's healthy.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 17, 2017
Blount hasn’t officially signed his contract yet. Before he does, the Eagles will need to cut someone to make room for Blount on their 90-man offseason roster.
But it won’t be Mathews who gets released tomorrow. In fact, Mathews won’t be released until June at the earliest, according to Les Bowen.
So what’s the deal? Why is this taking so long?
It’s believed Mathews is still recovering from a season-ending neck injury he suffered late in 2016. The Eagles can’t cut Mathews until he’s healthy enough to pass a physical, or else they’ll be on the hook for some more of his salary.
By waiting until he’s healthy to cut Mathews, the Eagles can save $4 million in cap space. That’s a pretty decent chunk, especially considering Philadelphia currently has the lowest amount of cap space in the league at only $1.2 million. Getting rid of Mathews will also free up a roster spot.
When healthy, Mathews is a talented player. Peep this stat.
Since 2010, only 3 NFL RBs have had 5 seasons with at least 6 rushing scores: Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, and Ryan Mathews.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 19, 2016
Of course, the problem is that Mathews is never healthy. The combination of Mathews’ injury concerns, fumble issues, increased age (turns 30 this season), and cap savings makes it a no-brainer for the Eagles to cut him.
As for when it happens, it’s ultimately just a matter of health, which is also a matter of time. And it seems like Mathews won’t be healthy until next month at the earliest, so the wait continues. June is just over two weeks away.