The Eagles have signed running back LeGarrette Blount and the expectation is that they will release Ryan Mathews as a result, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. However, he adds that the Eagles will wait until Mathews is healthy before releasing him.
As noted by former NFL executive Michael Lombardi (on Twitter), cutting Mathews before he is healthy would leave the Eagles on the hook for injury protection. Per the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Philly would have to pay out an extra $1.15MM, leaving them with a $2.15MM cap charge when factoring in the dead money on his deal. By waiting until he’s back to full health, however, the Eagles will be left with just $1MM on the cap while saving $4MM.
Mathews‘ 2016 season ended in December of last year when he suffered a herniated disc in his neck. Still, even with that injury plus the MCL sprain he was dealing with, he still turned in an alright season. In 13 games played he had 661 yards off of 155 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per attempt. He also had eight rushing touchdowns plus 13 catches for 115 yards.
With Mathews out of the picture, the Eagles will likely have Blount and Darren Sproles split the majority of carries. Wendell Smallwood and fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey figure to make the cut while 2016 UDFA Byron Marshall might be on the fringe.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.