While speculation about Jordan Matthews’ future with the Eagles is already in full force, on occasion it’s important to note the language that’s used in a report. Charles Robinson for Yahoo Sports said he believes the club is open to dealing their leading wide receiver IF another team makes a solid offer.
This is not the same as saying the Eagles are actively shopping Matthews, or that the organization is hoping to go in a different direction. It’s simply one reporter’s read of the situation that executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman would not hang up if somebody inquired, which is true of everybody on the roster not named Carson Wentz.
Still, it got people talking because the idea is not without merit. Matthews is entering the final year of his contract, and it’s anticipated the Eagles will add multiple receivers through the 2017 NFL Draft and free agency, which opens on March 9. You can see how his specific set of circumstances might present some challenges.
Matthews’ agent will no doubt begin angling for an extension soon, if he hasn’t already. The money that’s about to be thrown around in free agency will set the stage for a lucrative deal for one of only seven players in NFL history to record at least 225 receptions for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns over his first three seasons. We’re talking a potential for upwards of $10 million annually.
Should the Eagles pay that? Most fans would casually answer, “No,” but that’s the going rate, and for all his flaws, Matthews has produced.
For the sake of argument, let’s say the Eagles don’t value Matthews that highly, they add two receivers in the draft – one early and one late – and a veteran wideout in free agency. If that’s the case, he’s almost certainly going to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and walks away.
Assuming that is the most likely scenario, the Eagles absolutely should explore a trade. However, there still isn’t any urgency to do so. When Matthews inevitably leaves for a long-term, big-money contract elsewhere, the club will be compensated with a compensatory draft pick by the league, potentially as a high as a third-round pick.
If a receiver-needy team like the Eagles is willing to part ways with Matthews, what do you suppose he’s worth in a swap? Likely no better than a third would be the guess here. As the reporter said, Roseman needs to be enticed by a solid offer, which is something better than what the NFL will award at a later date.
There’s really no reason for another team to come swooping in with an offer, either. In fact, there’s no reason at all to contact the Eagles about Matthews at the moment, because there are about 100 wide receivers hitting the market in a matter of days, no trade required.
Alshon Jeffery. Brandon Marshall. Terrelle Pryor. DeSean Jackson. Pierre Garcon. Kenny Stills. Kenny Britt. Victor Cruz. In terms of trades, Brandin Cooks is available. What could the Eagles possibly hope to get in return for Matthews when the market is flooded with talent at the position, and all the rest of the league has to do is open the checkbook?
Considering the Eagles aren’t motivated to move Matthews, and the need for his services doesn’t exist at this point in time, it’s sort of a moot point. Maybe once everybody is signed, somehow there will be a roster out there somewhere that didn’t manage to fill a void at receiver, opening up the possibility to explore a trade around the draft.
Even then, Matthews is a better receiver than people often give him credit, and it’s uncertain the Eagles would be in a rush to part ways. After all, this team has a desperate need at receiver, so why trade the only sure thing they have?
Rating the Rumor: Unconvincing, but check back in April