Jordan Matthews

Report: Former Eagles WR Jordan Matthews signs with 49ers

Report: Former Eagles WR Jordan Matthews signs with 49ers

Free agent receiver Jordan Matthews, who rejoined the Eagles early last season after disappointing stints with the Bills and Patriots, has agreed to contract terms with the 49ers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Any chance Matthews had to return to Philly ended when the Eagles acquired DeSean Jackson to join Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery. 

In San Francisco, Matthews becomes the oldest and by far most experienced wide receiver on the roster, although the 49ers do have some promising young wide outs to go with QB Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The 49ers’ top receiver is Marquise Goodwin, who had nearly 1,000 yards in 2017 before dropping off last year to less than 400 in 11 games. 

Dante Pettis caught 27 passes for 457 yards as a rookie last year, Trent Taylor has 69 receptions over the last two seasons, Kendrick Bourne had nearly 500 yards last year as a second-year player and Richie James is mainly a returner.

Steven Dunbar, who played one game last year as a rookie, and Jordan Smallwood are also on the roster.

Matthews’ career with the Eagles got off to a good start, with 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first three seasons. Only seven other players in NFL history have matched those numbers in their first three seasons — Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss.

He went to Buffalo in the trade that brought Ronald Darby to the Eagles but was never healthy and only caught 25 passes in 10 games. The Patriots brought him in last summer, but he got hurt again and never suited up for them.

He rejoined the Eagles in late September and played well as a reserve wide out, catching 20 passes (on just 28 targets) for 300 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 37-yard TD in the postseason loss to the Saints.

Terms of the deal were unavailable, but Matthews is only 26 years old and has produced when he’s been healthy and been a starter.

Matthews’ mother is Jerry Rice’s cousin, so San Francisco is a fitting place for Matthews.

So far, the Eagles have cut ties with Matthews, Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks and Golden Tate, who left as free agents; Michael Bennett, who they traded to the Patriots; and Steven Wisniewski, whose option wasn't exercised.

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Jordan Matthews thought folks should have cut Carson Wentz some slack

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Jordan Matthews thought folks should have cut Carson Wentz some slack

When Jordan Matthews sat down to read the now-infamous PhillyVoice story that characterized one of his best friends as “selfish” and “egotistical,” he couldn’t help but think of one thing. 

Maybe everyone should have cut Carson Wentz some slack. 

Matthews, a pending free agent, was on SiriusXM and gave his take on Wentz and the article. While Matthews thought much of it was a stretch, he seemed bothered by some of the anonymous quotes: 

“I also think that some of the quotes that were, I guess, in the article … I don’t think they were very well-thought-out or measured, only because when you’re playing through injury, when you’re coming back off of a season where you don’t get to play in the playoffs and all this stuff, if there’s any slip in character for somebody of Carson’s caliber, I think there should be some grace applied. I think that should be the type of posture everybody should bring to somebody like that because this dude is the face of a franchise. 

“You think of the pressure that’s on his shoulders every single day and to miss out on being that leader and being in that position and come back and for right back into it and play through pain, I think there should always be some grace applied, especially somebody in that position.”

In his interview back in late January, Wentz didn’t dismiss everything in the report and even admitted he can be selfish (see story). He then admitted the last couple years haven’t been easy on him as he went through the ACL injury and then the back injury this past season. 

Wentz even admitted that he probably “wasn’t the greatest teammate at times because I was emotionally kind of all over the place.” 

Sure, that’s an excuse, but it’s a pretty good one. Wentz does have a ton of pressure on him and it couldn’t have been easy to go through what he went through. Does that excuse him from being a good teammate? No, it doesn’t. 

But Matthews seemed to wish that his fellow teammates would have been more understanding of the situation Wentz was in.  

“Just reading it, obviously, it was a stretch,” Matthews said. “Even when you read the article, it feels like a scary story you’d read to your kid. It seemed like such a stretch. And so, I think the second Carson goes out there, they’ll play the Rocky theme music, he’ll start ballin’ and it’ll all be forgotten.”

Well, Matthews is absolutely right about that. If Wentz turns out to be the franchise quarterback the Eagles think he’ll be, this entire story will be forgotten.

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NFL free agency 2019: A comprehensive look at Eagles’ receivers

NFL free agency 2019: A comprehensive look at Eagles’ receivers

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp continue the 2019 edition of Stay or Go, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Today, they’ll look at wide receiver. 

Alshon Jeffery

Roob: Although his season ended with one of the most disappointing plays of his career, Jeffery’s value is tremendous and goes way beyond his numbers. He plays hurt, makes big plays, gets into the end zone (15 TDs the last two years) and he’s proved himself to be a big-time playoff receiver (23-for-364-3 the last two postseasons). That $14.725 million cap figure is sizeable — ninth-highest among wide outs in 2019 — but Jeffery has shown he’s worth it.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: In back-to-back seasons, Jeffery has played through a torn rotator cuff and fractured ribs. He’s a gamer and even though the numbers aren’t mind-blowing, he’s consistently very good and the Eagles’ best receiver. He has a cap hit of over $14 million this season, but he’s not going anywhere. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Jeffery has always been great at the highlight-reel catches. In 2018, he was reliable too, hauling in 70.7 percent of targets — 18th among wideouts and 10 percent better than his career high. Jeffery also finished the regular season with more receptions and receiving yards than the previous year despite playing three fewer games. Forget the Saints game. He’ll be 29 and still one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL.

Verdict: Stays

Mike Wallace

Roob: Wallace had an unimpressive preseason, didn’t catch a pass in his first two regular-season games in an Eagles uniform and then suffered a season-ending injury. He’ll be 33 when training camp begins next summer, and I just don’t see the Eagles bringing back a 33-year-old free agent receiver. They need to get younger and faster here. Wallace made sense for a look-see last year but that ship has sailed.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Wallace wasn’t just supposed to be a replacement for Torrey Smith, he was supposed to be an upgrade. He never got that chance. He’s 32 and is coming off a serious injury, but I kind of have a feeling he’s a candidate for a prove-it deal. He seemed to like it here, the Eagles still need speed and they won’t have a lot of money to spend for it. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Impossible to evaluate Wallace, who played in two games before suffering a season-ending fractured fibula. His lone catch came in the preseason, and all his game action was with Nick Foles under center rather than Carson Wentz. Who can say whether he was a fit or not? That’s a problem. The Eagles need a vertical threat, but should let Wallace, 32, walk in free agency for the sake of getting younger.

Verdict: Goes

Golden Tate

Roob: I didn’t think there was a chance Tate would be back considering what the Eagles have at the position, considering the kind of contract he’ll probably be looking for and considering the modest production they got from him after the late-October trade. Then the Eagles fired WR coach Gunter Brewer, and it makes me wonder if Tate’s limited production and Brewer’s departure were related. If so, maybe Tate’s back.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Tate has been vocal about wanting to stay in Philly, but if the Eagles need to decide between him and Nelson Agholor, they’ve got to go with the younger player. There wasn’t enough production or even an understanding of how to properly use Tate. Also, I think Tate is going to be too expensive for them and it’s probably best to move on. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: Remember when the Eagles traded a third-round pick for this guy? Well, he finished with 37 catches, 342 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games (including postseason) — and now he’s a free agent. Tate is an outstanding possession receiver, and I imagine some receiver-needy team can outspend the Eagles to acquire his skill set. So, nice trade.

Verdict: Goes

Nelson Agholor

Roob: I’m not sure what to make of Nelly. He had an odd year. Had a lot of big plays but the final numbers weren’t where I thought they’d be. He’s only 25 and I still feel like he’s a weapon, but that $9.387 million salary is imposing. It would make him one of the 25 highest-paid WRs in the NFL next year. The Eagles could get out of it even though they already exercised his option. Curious situation. Going with the gut feeling here.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: He’s under contract on a fifth-year option year that will pay him over $9 million in 2019, but I’d seriously consider an extension for Agholor. Sure, his production was kind of up and down in 2018, but I still think he’s a player worth signing and he can be really good if they keep him in the slot. They could also alleviate some of that cap hit with a long-term deal. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: No way the Eagles are paying Agholor $9.3 million in 2019. However, an extension might be mutually beneficial. The club gets a lower cap hit this year and next, Agholor gets some security and a chance to earn bigger paydays in 2021 and beyond. Seems wise after two straight years over 60 catches and 700 yards, plus the fact that he’s under contract means both sides have a reason to work it out.

Verdict: Stays

Jordan Matthews

Roob: Matthews quietly made a nice impact after rejoining the Eagles early in the season, with 20 catches for 300 yards and a couple TDs plus a 37-yard TD in the playoff loss to the Saints. That’s tremendous production considering his $697,059 cap figure. If Matthews is willing to take another bargain-basement contract, I’m happy to bring him back.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Matthews came back and really contributed down the stretch for the Eagles. But the problem is still pretty clear. He’s best suited for the slot and that’s where Agholor plays. Perhaps he could be a depth player, but those spots are normally reserved for guys who chip in on special teams. He’s one of Carson Wentz’s best friends, but I’m not sure that’s enough. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: For better or worse, Matthews is a guy Wentz trusts — with Foles at the helm, he didn’t have a catch in three of five games. That rapport matters, especially for a young quarterback trying to rebuild his confidence. Matthews played well enough to get some calls after the big-name free agents sign, but he’d probably stick around if the Eagles make an offer.

Verdict: Stays

Shelton Gibson

Roob: Gibson had a 48-yard catch against the Vikings in Week 5 and then played 12 more snaps all year and even saw his special teams snaps gradually drop (112 first half of the year, 39 the second half). Which speaks volumes about how the Eagles feel about Gibson, their fifth-round pick last year. I thought Gibson would be a factor this year, but it’s tough to imagine him playing a role with this team moving forward.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: He turned himself into a pretty good gunner on the punt team, but I’m not sure that’s enough to keep him around. He hasn’t been able to produce offensively, even when the Eagles desperately needed a deep threat this season. It’ll probably depend on what happens in the draft. For now, I have him losing his spot, but that could change if no one gets drafted. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: Not a good sign Gibson didn’t get a shot before the Eagles signed Matthews off the street mid-season, or over DeAndre Carter who isn’t even here anymore. The former fifth-round draft pick’s role even diminished on special teams as the year progressed. Not sure what happened here. Doesn’t matter. Gibson has clearly fallen out of favor.

Verdict: Goes

Mack Hollins

Roob: What we all thought was a minor injury — and what Hollins said was a minor injury — wound up costing Hollins his entire second NFL season. He didn’t play a snap. I do know Hollins when healthy is a very good special teamer, so I’d think he’ll likely be back at a minimum in that role. But I could also see the Eagles drafting a receiver or two, which could put Hollins’ roster spot in jeopardy.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: I’m assuming Hollins is still alive because I haven’t actually seen him in months. The IR disappearing act of Hollins in 2018 will go down as the Area 51 in the Eagles’ 2018 season. If he can get healthy, he’s at least a really good special teams player on his rookie contract. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: It may feel like Hollins is no longer in the Eagles’ plans after a lost season, but if he can get healthy, he’s got a spot. The 25-year-old was a major special teams contributor as a rookie, not to mention flashed some potential at receiver. Hollins could even be the deep threat this team so desperately needs.

Verdict: Stays

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