Matthews, 34 in May, wasn’t easy to let go. Last year, the veteran racked up eight sacks in 13 games (all starts), despite missing some time with a painful broken jaw.
Jaw aside, Matthews has been durable throughout his pro career. That’s part of what helped Matthews earned six Pro Bowl nods through his ten seasons in Green Bay and he seemed on pace for a seventh before that setback.
The Rams will have to find edge pressure elsewhere as they remake their entire defense. So far, they’ve watched Eric Weddle retire while Cory Littleton, Michael Brockers and Dante Fowler have all departed in free agency. They also turned down their option on slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman. Meanwhile, they’ve added a handful of players, including former first-rounder Leonard Floyd and A’Shawn Robinson.
Thanks to his re-emergence under Wade Phillips, Matthews figures to draw some degree of interest on the open market. Matthews, however, did not live up to the extension he signed with the Packers. He failed to produce a double-digit sack season from 2015-18, recording just 3.5 and 12 quarterback hits in 2018. Matthews managed just 11 QB hits last season.
While the former Pro Bowler’s career is winding down, he still has a chance to reach 100 sacks. The former Packers first-round pick is up to 91.5 for his career. Matthews getting there would make him the 35th player in NFL history to do so. The third-generation NFLer will need to find a third team to help him reach this milestone, however.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.