Their responses overwhelmingly underscored one main point: It's about the culture.
"The precedent has already been set. ... It's all about culture. It's all about team. Precedent has been set long before this."
Still, on Wednesday Kelly himself pushed back against the culture narrative.
"No, not at all. It's not true," he said of reports that Mathis didn't fit the team's rapport. "It was a money issue and we just didn't come to terms on a money issue."
Asked how exactly he would describe the culture of his team, Kelly said he didn't think about it much, but still insisted that Mathis was not a culture problem.
"There are a bunch of guys that are working very hard and that's what we're looking for. And Evan works very hard. It was a money decision and we just weren't on the same page with the money," Kelly said.
Mathis wanted an upgrade on the $5.5 million he was due to play for this season and stayed away from voluntary OTAs. He has told reporters since being cut he had planned to attend this week's minicamp. Kelly said he didn't get that message.
"No, I didn't get that," he said. "When I talked to him on Thursday I told him why we were releasing him and I told him we wish him the best and I hope he gets what he's looking for. So, kind of the end of the conversation,"