The Philadelphia Eagles chose an old security blanket over a big mid-season splash in bringing back Jordan Matthews to replace injured DeSean Jackson.
At 5-4 entering their bye week, the Eagles moved quickly after placing Jackson on injured reserve on Tuesday with a core-muscle injury.
Antonio Brown bypassed again
The Seattle Seahawks were reportedly interested in free agent Antonio Brown before claiming Josh Gordon off waivers last week. The Eagles were considered another potential landing spot for the enigmatic Brown – especially after losing big-play threat Jackson to IR.
Brown was released by the Oakland Raiders in August before ever playing in a game with the team and then by the New England Patriots in September after allegations about sexual and personal misconduct.
A.B. enrolled in school, but has since declared he has dealt with off-field issues and is ready to return to the NFL.
That won’t come with Philly, at least not for now.
— AB (@AB84) November 6, 2019
Jordan Matthews, Round 3
The Eagles brought in former second-round pick Matthews for a workout and plan to sign the veteran, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
It will be Matthews’ third stint in Philadelphia.
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) November 6, 2019
Matthews caught 245 passes for 2,973 yards and 21 touchdowns in 60 games with Philadelphia (2014-16, 2018). That includes 20 for 300 yards and two TDs in 14 games last season.
The 27-year-old played 10 games for the Buffalo Bills in 2017 and one game for the San Francisco 49ers this season before being released Oct. 26.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Matthews is known for his route-running and his dependable hands, averaging a modest 12.1 per reception over his career. He has also been limited to 25 games over the past two-plus seasons due to a variety of ailments.
By comparison, the 5-10, 185-pound Brown is averaging 13.4 yards per reception for his career. With possession receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholar being quarterback Carson Wentz’s main wideouts, Brown would appear to be a more ideal replacement for Jackson – at least from a pure football perspective.
Catch percentage with #Eagles in their career:
Matthews: 245/374 (65%)
Agholor: 217/359 (60%)
Alshon: 304/529 (57%)
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) November 6, 2019
With Matthews’ signing, Agholar is expected to move outside from the slot and threated the top of the defense more often.
While Brown would provide the more explosive vertical threat, dependability might be the goal for the Eagles.
The offense has turned increasingly run-heavy, with veteran Jordan Howard heading for a 1,000-yard season and complemented by promising rookie Miles Sanders.
That, more than anything, could be the reason that swayed the Eagles bring Matthews back rather than gamble on the distractions that inevitably come with A.B.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)