Who needs college football for a farm league when there’s the Buffalo Bills?
Fresh off a visit to the Patriots last week, the same day that new Pats tight end Troy Niklas was in town, ex-Bills receiver and 2014 Philadelphia Eagles second-round draft pick Jordan Matthews is reportedly signing with New England on a one-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Patriots are signing former Bills’ WR Jordan Matthews to a one-year deal, per source. Healthy now, so could be a real factor.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 6, 2018
So, two days after trading one notable WR from the class of 2014, the Patriots sign another. Jordan Matthews becomes latest player to go from Buffalo to New England.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 6, 2018
Matthews’ one season in the quarterback purgatory of Orchard Park, NY was understandably rough: the 2017 season ended for him with a wince-worthy 25 catches for 282 yards and 1 touchdown over 10 games. As Schefty mentioned, though, Jordan was battling through injuries, plural - to the tune of a chest injury (!) immediately following his trade to the Bills, thumb surgery in October of 2017, and eventually ended up on Injured Reserve early in December for knee and ankle issues that would both also require surgery this offseason. According to the Philly Inquirer, that knee issue dates to well before the 2017 campaign ever started, too. Ouch.
Speaking of Philly, though, Jordan was a whole lot more productive in his first three seasons with the Eagles despite living through the tail end and subsequent purging of the Chip Kelly era: between the ‘14, ‘15, and ‘16 seasons, Matthews hauled in 225 passes for 2,673 yards and hit pay dirt 19 times. And while he’s been primarily a slot guy in the NFL, he did line up on the outside sometimes with the Eagles and played mostly as an outside guy with the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Given that New England’s offense regularly flips slot guys to the outside and outside guys to the slot, versatility will get you a long way in this town.
That said, there’ll more than likely be at least a few guys that Matthews will have to beat out for a roster spot. Take a look at the Patriots’ current wideout roster (hint: there’s a bunch):
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell’s got the right idea:
Like all Patriots signings, Jordan Matthews will either be such a bargain that we can’t believe the Patriots got him for so cheap OR he won’t make the team.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) April 6, 2018
And finally, with the wide receiver room as full as it is, one would think that wideout would be all but crossed off on draft night, but who are we kidding? It’s Belichick. The only true wisdom is knowing that we know nothing.