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The Eagles Should Consider Trading Jordan Matthews

matthews eagles Dora Grande via Flickr.com

Trading Jordan Matthews

After signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith at the start of free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles should consider moving on from Jordan Matthews. The team is in desperate need of a starting veteran cornerback, and with Matthews now expendable, the Eagles should consider trading him before it’s too late.

Chip Kelly’s Pick

Jordan Matthews was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Matthews became the starting slot receiver in year one, with Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper being the outside targets. He was an immediate weapon for the high-powered Chip Kelly offense, posting back to back 800+ yard, 8 td seasons. Matthews struggled with dropped passing, with 6 in 2014 and 5 in 2015, but he was able to find open space, resulting in solid overall production.

Doug Pederson Era

Doug Pederson brought the West Coast Offense back to Philadelphia. There were rumors that Matthews would finally be moved to the outside. Aside from a few plays, he stayed in the slot. If you were to look at his overall season, his numbers seem decent, 73 catches, and just over 800 yards.

Breaking down Matthews numbers game by game tells a different story. He had one game over 100 yards. Against the Vikings, he hauled in 3 catches for 10 yards. He was also held to just 6 catches for 27 yards against the Ravens.

He also had the worst production for a game of 10+ catches in NFL history: 11 catches for 64 yards against the Cowboys. Even in games where it looks like he was productive, like the team’s Week 7 contest against the division rival Redskins, Matthews’ 3 catches for 75 yards looks good. However, one of his receptions was for 54 yards. Similarly, his game against Chicago: 6 catches for 71 yards. Again, another 32 yard reception.

If Matthews doesn’t have a long-gainer, his numbers are poor. It’s certainly valuable to have a receiver who is capable of ripping off large gains, but that isn’t Matthews game.  He needs to consistently haul in the ball and move the chains.  Those big gains don’t occur as often as they would need to for him to be a reliable weapon.

DGB and Nelson Agholor

Dorial Green-Beckham is 23 years old. He has two more years under contract, and while underperforming last season, the team should not give up on him. If the Eagles were to release him, they would save just under $1 million. I am not one to predict the future, but a fair player comparison to DGB is Plaxico Burress. Plaxico’s first season with the Steelers netted 23 catches for 273 yards and zero touchdowns. Green-Beckham had 36 catches 392 yards and 2 touchdowns last season.

I know it was his second season in the NFL, but it was his first with Philadelphia. With a new, capable coach like Mike Groh, I would keep DGB in Philadelphia.

Nelson Agholor is also just 23 years old. The former first-round selection out of USC has been the focus of much of the blame the Eagles offense receives.

Leading up to the 2015 NFL draft, Agholor was said to best fit the slot and some thought he may struggle with press on the outside. It only made sense that the Eagles would immediately place Agholor outside. They had no choice with Jordan Matthews already manning the slot. Agholor struggled, catching just 23 passes for 283 yards and 1 touchdown. He had a better season in 2016 with 36 catches, 365 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Nelson Agholor has been dragged through the mud by the fan base, but he was thrown into the fire and asked to produce as a number one receiver from day 1. Moving on from Matthews would allow Agholor go to the role where he was predicted to produce the most.

Jordan Matthews Fit

Jordan Matthews is 25 and in the last year of his rookie deal. While he has produced, does he really fit the west coast offense? With Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith being the number one and two receivers, right now, Jordan Matthews is slated to be the slot. However, a slot receiver in the NFL has transitioned to be a sure-handed, quick, yards after catch guy. He is none of that. In my opinion, he no longer fits this offense.

The Cost of Keeping Matthews

Alshon Jeffery is on a 1-year deal in Philadelphia. You can say the same thing about Jordan Matthews, as he is in the last season of his rookie deal. Seeing as there are already rumors swirling that Matthews is available for trade, it is obvious to me that the team does not intend on bringing him back.

Alshon will cost at least $14 million per year in a huge wide receiver market next season. Kenny Stills and Robert Woods, both of whom have less NFL production than Jordan Matthews, each received an average of $8 million per year. I do not foresee the Eagle investing around $14 million per year in Alshon Jeffery and another $8+ million in Jordan Matthews. That would be $22 million between two receivers. One of whom does not even fit the prototypical west coast offense slot receiver.

The Return

Jordan Matthews does not have much value around the NFL. He is not quick enough to play outside. He does not have the elusiveness to be a premier slot receiver now that the Chip Kelly offense is history.

Matthews was a second round pick in 2014, but his value is nowhere near the second round now. At the very best, I could see the Eagles getting a 4th round draft pick in return for him. Another option could be trading Matthews for another player who may fall out of favor with their respective team.

One name that has been thrown around is Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller. Another player that could be available is veteran Jason McCourty, as the Titans have signed Logan Ryan, and could take Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore with the 5th overall pick in the draft.

Whatever the case, I believe the Eagles should take what they can get for Matthews now, because when he walks away next year, they will receive nothing.

 

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