After months of waiting, Ryan Mathews is gone.
The Eagles on Tuesday finally cut the veteran 29-year-old running back in a move that will save the team $4 million in cap space.
While Mathews has been rehabbing elsewhere, he has taken up a roster spot all spring and summer while he recovered from a serious neck injury. He even still had a stall in the Eagles' locker room. The Eagles were waiting for him to completely heal before releasing him.
Mathews was set to have a cap hit of $5 million in 2017, the last year of the three year contract he signed before the 2015 season.
Before the move on Tuesday, the Eagles had $8.665 million in cap space. This will create $4 million more.
The team released the following statement regarding Mathews' release:
“We want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Philadelphia Eagles over the past two seasons. We spoke today and had a productive conversation about his future and the direction of our team going forward. First and foremost, we are glad that Ryan is healthy and has been cleared to return to football activities, but given the current state of our running back position, we feel like it is best for both sides to go in a different direction. We wish him all the best as he continues his career.”
When he was healthy, Mathews was actually pretty productive as a member of the Eagles. But as it has been in the past for him, staying healthy wasn't easy for Mathews. His Eagles career ended in Week 16 when he suffered a herniated disc in his neck.
In 26 games with the Eagles, the former first-round pick carried the ball 261 times for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. His yards per attempt average was 4.6.
Among Eagles running backs with at least 250 career attempts, Mathews ranks third in yards per attempt behind Ernie Steel (5.18) and LeSean McCoy (4.65).
Only 12 players had more rushing touchdowns over the last two years and his 4.6 yards per attempt was the ninth-highest average among players with at least 250 attempts.
Mathews, throughout his career, has been a good running back when healthy. The problem is he never seems to be healthy.
While Mathews played well in two years, it wasn't very surprising the Eagles decided to move on from a 29-year-old with a big cap number, who can't stay healthy and who is coming off a serious injury and surgery.
The Eagles have Darren Sproles, LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey as their running backs right now.
The Eagles used the roster spot vacated by Mathews to bring back cornerback Mitchell White. The roster now stands at 90.