Packers Rumors: WR Jordan Matthews Visiting Green Bay
After exchanging Jordy Nelson’s cap hit for Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson, the Packers have a bit of a need at wide receiver.
Today, Brian Gutekunst and company are taking steps to address that need, bringing in former Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews for a visit.
Matthews is just 25 years old (he turns 26 in July) and has been productive in the past, mostly during his time in Philadelphia. After an injury-plagued 2017 season, he may also be available at something of a discount.
As he prepares for his visit with the Packers, here are three things you should know about Jordan Matthews.
1 - He went from small school prospect to collegiate star
Jordan Matthews was not a darling of the high school football recruiting circuit. He entered his senior year with very little attention from scouts and ended up receiving only one scholarship offer, which he accepted, signing with Vanderbilt.
Though he didn’t get off to a roaring start as a freshman, by his sophomore season he was a regular contributor. Teaming up with Aaron Rodgers’ brother, Jordan, he broke the school record for receptions in a season in 2013 with 94, a total he’d surpass as a senior, recording 112 receptions in 2013. His senior season included this...uh...gutsy performance against Ole Miss.
2 - He didn’t stand out at the Combine but produced in Philadelphia
Other than his 6-3, 212 frame and his monster hands (10 ⅜ inches), Matthews doesn’t have overwhelming physical attributes. At the 2014 NFL Combine, he posted good but not great numbers, including a 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash. His overall physical profile aligns fairly closely with other big-bodied receivers like Kenny Golladay in Detroit or Michael Thomas in New Orleans.
But despite his lackluster testing numbers, Matthews was extremely productive during his first three seasons as a pro. He caught 225 passes for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns from 2014 through 2016. More notably, despite his non-standard size, he typically operated out of the slot, racking up more than 89% of his yards as a slot receiver during that time.
3 - He faltered after a trade to the Buffalo Bills
Just prior to the start of the 2017 season, Philadelphia traded Matthews and a third-round pick to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby.
The trade worked out great for the Eagles. Darby was a solid contributor for the Eagles in the second half of the regular season and in the playoffs.
Matthews, though, struggled in Buffalo. Battling injuries throughout the season, he managed just 25 catches, 282 yards, and one touchdown in ten games, career lows across the board.
Injuries played a big factor in his disappointing season. He fractured his sternum in his very first practice with the Bills, which shelved him for a month. Then he sprained his thumb so badly he needed surgery. And, as though that wasn’t enough, a knee injury kept him out of practice for much of the latter part of the season.
He also dealt with inconsistent play at quarterback, where Tyrod Taylor was up and down at times throughout the year. A film analysis from the Buffalo Bills’ extension of the SB Nation empire reveals that perhaps Taylor played a sizeable role in Matthews’ struggles.
Matthews did get married while a member of the Bills, so at least his time in Buffalo wasn’t a total loss.