Jordan Matthews arrived in Buffalo yesterday not looking too happy.
Jordan Matthews arrives in Buffalo tonight— John Clark CSN/NBC (@JClarkCSN) August 12, 2017
Joining former teammate LeSean McCoy
Jordan high character guy. Will be missed pic.twitter.com/qzy4IAB0WW
The former Eagles wide receiver clearly has reason to be upset after being traded so suddenly. He’s moving away from the friends and teammates he had in Philadelphia.
Another reason for Matthews to be upset is that it seems like Buffalo isn’t even super interested in him.
I doubt Jordan Matthews is real thrilled with the trade. My sense is the Bills wanted the draft pick, and after trading Watkins, needed WR.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) August 12, 2017
Try this again, while watching practice: Matthews told Buffalo reporter Bills haven't mentioned a contract— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) August 12, 2017
It’s typically standard for a team trading for a player on a one-year deal to start negotiating a long-term contract. But it sounds like the Bills aren’t in a rush to keep Matthews. The Eagles’ 2018 third-round pick was the real prize of the trade for Buffalo.
Contrast that to what’s going on in Los Angeles with the Rams. They traded with Buffalo because they really wanted Sammy Watkins. Rams GM Les Snead publicly admitted the team wants to extend his contract.
The point I’m trying to make here is that this Eagles-Bills trade indicates Matthews’ value was not very high. I’ve seen some question why the draft pick had to included and this trade wasn’t just a player-for-player swap: Matthews for Ronald Darby. Now you have your answer.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Matthews’ value wasn’t very high. As previously mentioned, he’s going into a contract year. The league likely realizes there could be a disconnect between what his agent will be asking for (based on Matthews’ inflated stats) and the player’s actual value relative to his skill set.
Another comparison I’d like to make while illustrating this point is the Brandin Cooks trade. Cooks only has 188 more yards and one more touchdown than Matthews does in his career. The Patriots surrendered a first-round pick because they really wanted him. Now compare that to the Matthews trade where he had to be traded in addition to a third-round pick in order for the Eagles to get Darby.
I’m real curious about how he even fits in Buffalo. Anquan Boldin and rookie Zay Jones are already slot guys. That’s where Matthews has played in most of his career. Maybe the Bills will try him on the outside, but he hasn’t had success there in limited playing time. In 2016, Matthews played on the outside for 32.9% of Philadelphia’s offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Matthews was targeted 40 times when not playing in the slot. He had 20 receptions for 222 yards (a paltry 11.1 average).
It’s a bummer to see Matthews end up in a situation where he’s not necessarily wanted long-term. The good news is JMatt will have a chance to find a team who really wants him in free agency after this season.