"We weren't going to change his contract," Kelly explained, "so we granted that."
Kelly held out for trade opportunities as long as he could, but ultimately to no avail.
"If he didn't want to be here, I wanted him to get whatever he can get," Kelly continued. "I hope it works out for him. He was great for us in the two years that we had him. I like Evan a lot. If he wants to get released to see what he can get better then we released him. ... I'm not going to hold guys out."
It's a risky move by Mathis' camp.
Kelly acknowledged that the organization is "obviously down a good player" with Mathis' release, but also praised veteran Allen Barbre as a capable starter.