In lieu of cutting running back LeSean McCoy, the Eagles found a trade partner. They almost did the same thing with guard Evan Mathis.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Eagles nearly traded Evan Mathis during the draft.
While it’s unclear whether it was part of an effort to get quarterback Marcus Mariota or another deal, it didn’t happen. Which makes the eventual release of Mathis even more surprising.
According to the source, no serious efforts were made to trade Mathis before releasing him this week. But it would have made sense to try to get something of value in return for a two-time Pro Bowler. Even if he’s not happy with his contract, another team could have secured dibs on negotiating a deal Mathis would deem to be acceptable — such as the offer from last year that Mathis contends was pulled from the table in 2015.
With the details reported by multiple media outlets on Tuesday (roughly $1 million more per year in 2015 and 2016), any interested team could have initiated the process of securing Mathis pursuant to a deal in that range in exchange for a low-round draft pick. Or the Eagles could have done the same thing.
Ultimately, coach Chip Kelly opted instead to dump Mathis abruptly, a possible manifestation of Kelly’s fast-talking impatience. It’s also a possible reflection of Kelly’s attitude toward the crapshoot that is the draft. For him, keeping Mathis around any longer wasn’t worth it, even if it meant coaxing a third-day selection from the team that eventually signs Mathis.