The Philadelphia Eagles began OTAs on Tuesday but one important player was absent, Pro Bowl starting left guard Evan Mathis. It’s been clear for quite sometime now that Mathis is unhappy with his current contract with the Eagles as he has skipped multiple voluntary workouts in the past as well.
Head coach Chip Kelly has even said openly to the media that Mathis has been on the trading block for two years in a row. It’s rare for any coach or executive in any professional organization to just openly state that a player is available for trade. So either Mathis and his agent are really unhappy with his contract situation or there’s more going on behind the scenes that we may not know about. Here’s what Kelly had to say regarding Mathis being on the trading block:
But does Mathis have a legitimate reason to be this angry? I’m not so sure about that. He’s arguably the best guard in the NFL, there’s no doubt about that. Yet he’s also 33-years old and suffered a major injury in 2014, that’s not exactly the type of situation you want to throw more money into. According to Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com, Mathis is actually the oldest projected starting offensive linemen in the NFL for the upcoming season. So why is Mathis so upset about his contract?
He’s set to make $6.5 million in 2015, which ranks 8th among guards in the NFL, according to Spotrac.com. But Mathis is the oldest of that group and hasn’t had much success anywhere else but in Philadelphia. Marshal Yanda was the only guard in the NFL with a higher grade than Mathis in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus. Yet he’s three years younger, on the final year of his contract and you don’t see him missing OTAs and demanding a trade.
Just look around the league at the other players that are missing OTAs, many of them don’t have the best reputation as team-first type of guys. Former Eagles stars DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are both missing OTAs for no apparent reason, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is missing as well due to being unhappy in Minnesota. Then there are players that received the franchise tag, with no future job security past the upcoming season. Lastly there are the players that performed at a much higher level despite the level they are being paid at that are looking for a new contract.
But Mathis is 33-years old, one of the top paid players at his position, has two years on his contract and is still unhappy? It just doesn’t add up. Things will become even more interesting if he’s absent at mandatory team workouts starting June 16th as well. Kelly is clearly tired of Mathis and his agent’s antics to try and get a new contract. As a coach and organization that preaches team chemistry and a strong locker room, dealing with this nonsense is certainly not something Kelly or the Eagles want to do.
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