The Jordan Matthews we knew his first time with the Eagles was a second-round draft pick with a big contract and plenty of job security.
Matthews earned $4.95 million on his rookie contract, most of it from the Eagles, the last million or so from the Bills.
Life has changed for Matthews, now back with the Eagles after being released by the Patriots with an injury settlement.
There are no guarantees anymore, both financially or with football.
And being in this position — having to fight for a job and earning minimum wage after years of big money and security — has given Matthews quite a different perspective.
“I think when you get to about Year 5, Year 6, Year 4, there’s a couple things that have transpired,” Matthews said. “Second contracts, free agency, stuff like that.
“It can either go one of two ways. One, you get a second contract, you get paid a ton of money and then you get on the high horse, or you have injuries and you have a little adversity and then there’s the humility aspect of it, and I think I’ve definitely kind of been humbled through this whole experience.”
Matthews made $170,000 for his brief stay with the Patriots this summer and he’s now on a minimum-wage deal with the Eagles with no guarantees.
That means a little over $46,000 a week. Really good money but in terms of NFL wide receivers, it doesn’t even put him in the top 100 in the league.
Matthews had three very solid, very consistent seasons where he was The Guy.
Since then he’s been traded, hurt, a free agent, released, out of work and signed to a minimum-wage make-good deal.
He’s seen NFL life from both sides now and it’s been eye-opening.
“People always gave me the pass, ‘Oh, Jordan’s really humble,’ just because I’m nice. But I feel like I still took some stuff for granted. I didn’t understand the type of mindset of a guy like (Chris) Maragos, a guy who was undrafted and just grinded to get where he’s at. So just the humility aspect of it. Taking every single day and being thankful for it. And then from being from the guy at the very bottom of the roster to the guy at the top. And understanding, man, I could be either one. I could be that guy one day or I could be that guy one day.”
Matthews is only 26 and should be entering his prime.
If he doesn’t make plays, he could be gone when Alshon Jeffery gets back in the next couple weeks. If he does? He could have a second career with the Eagles.
“I have a ton left,” he said. “I don’t see myself easing up. My thing is I don’t do much outside of this. All I do is think about football. I literally when I leave here I go recovery and I go try and get stronger and get better just so I can play football.
“I tell my wife all the time I want to play 10 more years. So the biggest thing is always trying to get better and improve my game and try to make plays when they come.
“This is a great opportunity for me that I got to make the most out of so I’m trying to be my best every single time I go out there so I can really extend my career.”