With training camp already a couple weeks in the books there is takes anywhere from Jordan Matthews being traded to starting. I understand Jordan Matthews might not be back next season, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles should just get rid of the guy and here is why.
First off, Jordan Matthews has been one of the most productive receivers to start off his career. Put in the fact that he is a slot receiver who had to deal with four different quarterbacks in three years. When you look at players around the league, preferably slot receivers, like Jarvis Landry, Julian Edelman, Doug Baldwin, Willie Snead, and Jamison Crowder all have continuity with their quarterbacks. The same can’t be said for Jordan Matthews who went from Nick Foles to Mark Sanchez to Sam Bradford and now to Carson Wentz.
Of all those guys I just mentioned, Jordan Matthews has more receiving yards out of the slot since he’s entered the league. When people hear that they said, “It’s the Chip affect”. Well let’s look at it then.
In 2015, Jordan Matthews’s career year, he averaged 8 targets and 5.3 recpections a game under Chip Kelly. In 2016, while battling with a knee injury, a rookie quarterback and head coach, Matthews averaged 8.2 targets and 5.2 recpections a game. So yes, the Eagles ran more plays with Chip Kelly, but Matthews actually had more targets per game while under Doug Pederson. If that’s not enough to prove to you that Chip Kelly doesn’t matter let’s look at yards per game. Under Chip Kelly, Jordan Matthews averaged 58 yards a game. Under Doug Pederson, Matthews averaged 57 yards a game. A one yard difference.
Adding; Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to go alone with the emergence of Nelson Agholor through training camp give the Eagles plenty of weapons. The same couldn’t be said for the Eagles the last two years, so why would people want to see Matthews, arguably one of the best slot receivers in the league traded?
This year is about letting Carson Wentz grow. Having Jordan Matthews on the team helps more than not. Wentz and Matthews have a special bond and you can see that in practice, games and even on social media. Carson wants Matthews and Matthews wants Carson.
The Eagles also need depth at the wide receiver position. I project the Eagles to keep at least six receivers; Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Matthews, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, and Marcus Johnson. Greg Ward, Shelton Gibson and Bryce Treggs could force the Eagles to keep seven. That might seem like a good list on paper, but with Alshon injury history and both Torrey and Agholor being question marks. I think you almost have to keep Jordan Matthews if you want to guarantee Carson takes that next step as a quarterback in this league.
Value in Return
The cornerback position is bad, I get that. The Eagles have three NFL cornerbacks on their team in my eyes and those three are; a seventh round pick last year (Jalen Mills), an undrafted free agent last year (CJ Smith) and a third (basically fourth) round pick this year (Rasul Douglas).
Trading Jordan Matthews for a cornerback isn’t ideal though. In today’s NFL, teams don’t give up on cornerbacks that can play in this league. That’s why I think the Eric Rowe trade is one of the worst trades the Eagles have made over the last decade, but that’s a side note. Cornerback is the second hardest position to play in this league in my opinion. Cornerbacks are more valuable than slot receivers who are on the last years of their respected deals, plus put into fact that Jordan Matthews is 100% as he is dealing with a knee injury.
If you trade Jordan Matthews I think the best you could get is a fifth round pick or a cornerback to the tier of Patrick Robinson. It’s not worth it in my eyes. Maybe you sit back and hope Kyle Fuller gets cut by the Bears. If you don’t resign Matthews and he walks you get a compensatory pick for the 2019 NFL Draft. You will be able to coach up guys like; Mills, Douglas, Smith and hopefully, once healthy, Sidney Jones.
- Take the hit this year at cornerback.
- Coach up the young guys.
- Let Carson develop with the most weapons at his exposure.
That’s my take on Jordan Matthews.