Former Eagles WR blames medical staff for lingering injury issues

AP Images

Former Eagles WR blames medical staff for lingering injury issues

Jordan Matthews' 2017 season was hindered by an injured thumb and a chest injury, but the Bills' wide receiver blames the Eagles' medical staff for his lingering injuries.

In a Sirius NFL Radio interview Tuesday, via The Buffalo News, Matthews said "two really bad diagnoses" by the Eagles' doctors didn't catch a need for surgery to repair damage to his knee and ankle.

"I think the worst and most frustrating thing about the whole situation was, when I got to Buffalo, I was still dealing with the things that I had to get surgery on," Matthews. "But I had two really bad diagnoses on the knee and the ankle, so going into the trade, I thought they were both things that were going to heal on their own. But once I got around Buffalo's doctors, they got me in touch with the right people and then I got really good feedback.

"We ended up finding out there were other things that I was dealing with, so the thumb was definitely upsetting, the chest was upsetting. But what's crazy was when they ended up doing my surgery on my knee, they actually told me that, 'Man, it's a good thing that you didn't play more games, you didn't practice more, because you needed to come here and get this procedure done as soon as possible.' So, if anything, it was a blessing in disguise. I don't regret any of the times that happen. I think it honestly has just made me a stronger person, it's going to make me a better player."

Matthews was traded, along with a 2018 third-round pick, to Buffalo for Ronald Darby last August. Matthews played in 10 games for the Bills, hauling in 25 receptions for 282 yards and one touchdown. 

Matthews suffered a chest injury in his first practice with the Bills, causing him to miss the remainder of the preseason. After mid-season thumb surgery caused him to miss one game in October, Matthews had his season ended early when he was placed on IR in early December because of a lingering knee issue. Soon after, Matthews had surgery performed on both his left knee and right ankle. 

Matthews dealt with ankle and knee injuries during his time with the Eagles. Matthews missed the entire 2016 preseason with a knee injury after taking a low hit in training camp. He would also miss two of the final five games of that season due to an ankle injury.

The knee injury, which the team officially termed as tendinitis, then caused Matthews to miss a good chunk of offseason work. At the first full-team training camp practice prior to the 2017 season, Matthews said he considered having offseason surgery on the knee but opted for rehab instead. 

Matthews is set to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. 

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have found their replacement for Torrey Smith. 

Heck, they found an upgrade. 

On Thursday, the Birds agreed to terms with veteran speedy receiver Mike Wallace on a one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

This signing makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they weren’t ready to hand Mack Hollins the starting spot Smith left. Hollins can now split time with Wallace. Even if the Eagles didn’t trade Smith, they weren’t going to keep him at his price tag, so adding Wallace gives the Eagles a veteran with speed at a cheaper cost. 

Wallace, 31, is coming off a season in which he caught 52 passes for 748 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. For comparison, in 2017, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards (11.9) and two touchdowns. And Smith dropped seven passes, while Wallace dropped just three, according to ProFootballFocus. In fact, Wallace's numbers weren't far off from Alshon Jeffery's stats last year (57 receptions, 789 yards, 9 touchdowns). 

While Wallace isn’t coming off his best season in 2017, he went over 1,000 yards in 2016 and has averaged 15.0 yards per reception during his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles hope he'll be the deep threat they thought they were getting in Smith. 

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Wallace is second in the league in 40-yard receptions and in 50-yard receptions. He has 43 receptions of 40-plus yards (behind DeSean Jackson's 56) and 26 receptions of 50-plus yards (behind Jackson's 36). 

If that's not recent enough for you, the Eagles had seven pass plays of 50-plus yards in 2017; Wallace had three on his own. He can still stretch the field. 

The Eagles can now start Alshon Jeffery and Wallace on the outside, which will allow them to keep Nelson Agholor in the slot, where he was great last season. Then they’ll still have Hollins and Shelton Gibson (both draft picks from 2017) off the bench. Not bad. 

Wallace will turn 32 before the season starts, so the Eagles have added another veteran player, something they’ve done plenty this season. They already added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. It’s pretty clear the Eagles see the need to maximize their window of opportunity and getting players to join them is probably easier coming off a Super Bowl win. 

Signing veterans on one-year deals certainly worked well for the Eagles last season and if this one works out too, they will have found a good fit for the 2018 season.  

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

USA Today Images

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.