The Philadelphia Eagles needed to sign a replacement at the wide receiver position with Mike Wallace on the injured reserve, and they have found a familiar option in possession wideout Jordan Matthews.
In 2015, Jordan Matthews had the most productive season of his NFL career, hauling in 85 passes for 997 yards and eight touchdowns for the Philadelphia Eagles. Never a big playmaker, Matthews made his mark in three seasons with the Eagles as a possession guy who could play in the slot or on the outside. The problem was that Matthews was never dynamic enough to be a No. 1 wideout, and he was too drop-prone to be a reliable, high-volume receiver.
Matthews was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2017 so that the Eagles could acquire star cornerback Ronald Darby. He failed to make an impact in Buffalo due to injuries and was placed on injured reserve after catch 25 passes. A hamstring injury prevented Matthews from latching on to the New England Patriots this offseason, and he remained in free agency until the Eagles called him up for a reunion this week.
After meeting with the Eagles on Tuesday, per ESPN’s Tim McManus, the organization decided to sign the known commodity to a contract on Wednesday. The news was reported by Yahoo! Sports’s Jordan Schultz, who made sure to emphasize quarterback Carson Wentz’s comfort level with the former Vanderbilt star.
Now that he’s back on the Eagles roster, Matthews joins a wide receiver corps that includes Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Kamar Aiken. With Jeffery, the crown jewel of the Eagles receiver, still nursing a shoulder injury, Matthews is an even more welcome addition to the offense.
Wentz will return to the Eagles for Week 3 against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts after missing the first two games due to last season’s campaign-ending injury. That means Matthews could immediately pay dividends against a Colts defense that over-achieved in a Week 2 win over Washington.
The Eagles will hope for consistency from Matthews, because the 26-year-old’s biggest question mark isn’t about talent, potential, football IQ, respect, or familiarity with the offense. His biggest question mark is health, considering how his time with two AFC East teams ended.
Furthermore, the Eagles need Matthews to be able to move the chains and help the other wideouts on the team have more room to work their magic. If he can cut down on the drops that plagued him during his initial stint with the team, then that would be a dream for the Eagles offense.
Matthews is a much different receiver than Mike Wallace, but it would be nice for the Eagles to get, say, eight yards per target from him, as opposed to the 6.9 he averaged in his last full season with the team in 2016. Efficiency is the name of the game for a role player like Matthews, but his versatility and understanding of the offense could make him an asset. He was the best option available for the Eagles, but it will be interesting to see if he can deliver in key situations if Wentz calls his number. If so, the Eagles might have the best option possible in the slot.