For Philadelphia Eagles, cutting Evan Mathis won’t help

As voluntary OTAs came to an end Thursday, the Philadelphia Eagles made a bolt statement when they cut Evan Mathis.

Mathis, 33, had been one of the Eagles' better offensive linemen when healthy, while also developing a reputation as one of the league's best guards. He's made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons (despite missing seven games with a knee sprain last year), and earned All-Pro honors in 2013.

The decision to cut Mathis ends the substantial contract battle that had been one of the biggest focuses of the Eagles' offseason. Mathis was set to earn $5.5 million in base salary this year with $1 million in bonuses, and $6 million next year with another $1 million bonus. He was holding out for more money, however, wanting a raise for the honors he's attained.

The situation also saw a nasty development earlier this week, when news broke that the team pulled a pending deal that would pay Mathis an additional $1 million per season off the table. Mathis originally declined the deal when it was offered last September, but when interest was expressed, he was informed that it was no longer valid due to Howie Roseman being relieved of his general managerial duties.

For the Eagles, moving on from Mathis won't be easy. Allen Barbre had filled in for him during the voluntary workouts, while a rotation of Andrew Gardner, Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly had been working on the right side. Mathis is also the second offensive lineman to leave this offseason, after Todd Herremans signed as a free agent with Indianapolis in March.

Head coach Chip Kelly also hasn't done anything in the draft, free agency or trades to shore up the front five, either. While Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson will each return, the Birds are still faced with uncertainty at both guard positions.

Almost quietly, Mathis had been one of the Eagles' most dominant offensive players since signing with the team in 2011. The tension that's resulted in his new contract demand had gotten ugly, and the resolution to the matter won't make anything better.

The decision to cut Mathis could also set a staunch precedent for future holdouts. As Kelly enters his first season in charge of player personnel, he's taken a no-nonsense approach with contract holdouts. Undoubtedly, this will affect any and all holdouts for as long as Kelly runs the show.

Rob Riches is a contributor to Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Riches61

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