Clay Matthews

Extra Points: Chiefs, Gase, Matthews, Texans

The Chiefs announced today that they signed team president Mark Donovan to a long-term extension.

“I’d like to congratulate Mark and his family on this well-deserved recognition,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “Because of Mark’s leadership over the past decade, the business operations of the Chiefs are among the best in professional sports, and he and his team have worked tirelessly to create the best fan experience in the National Football League. Mark is an innovative leader and a talented executive who is widely respected in our industry and in the Kansas City community. I am thrilled that he will continue to be a key part of the leadership of the Chiefs for many years to come.”

Donovan joined the organization as their COO back in 2009, and he earned the promotion to his current role in 2011. The press release notes that he’s played a major role in helping to “re-establish Arrowhead Stadium as an elite venue for not only sports, but other forms of entertainment.” Donovan started working for the NFL back in 1999, and he’s also spent time with the Eagles organization.

Here are more NFL notes as we wrap up this Tuesday night:

  • Bill O’Brien said wide receiver Will Fuller is progressing from his hamstring injury (via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter). The wideout hasn’t played since suffering the injury during the Texans‘ Week 7 loss to the Colts. Meanwhile, Keke Coutee‘s absence shouldn’t be attributed to injury; O’Brien said the wideout hasn’t played due to his lack of “attention to detail” (via Wilson). The head coach made it clear that it wasn’t an effort issue, noting that the former fourth-rounder is a “great guy.”
  • The Jets fell to 1-7 after losing to the rebuilding Dolphins, meaning Adam Gase has naturally found himself on the hot seat. However, the head coach told reporters that he isn’t focused on his job security. “It’s just something that I don’t really focus on,” Gase said (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “My job is to try to get the team prepared every week, get them ready to go, get them focused on the game that we have to play. One and seven is not fun to go through. Things haven’t gone the way that we wanted to. It’s just that’s what happens in the NFL sometimes and unfortunately, we’re going through it right now.” Gase joined the organization back in January on a four-year contract that’s rumored to be worth upwards of $20MM.
  • It was barely a month ago that Clay Matthews broke his jaw, but the Rams linebacker is set to return to practice. Coach Sean McVay told reporters that the veteran will return to the practice field this week, and the coaching staff will evaluate his progress as they determine his availability for this weekend. “Everything’s checked out in a positive manner up to this point, so I think it’s just kind of progressing back to, ‘How comfortable do you feel putting a helmet on?’” McVay told the team’s website. “Some of the collisions that naturally would occur and just kind of trusting that you’re nice and secure in that absence of some of that stuff that kind of kept it in place and helped it heal over the last couple weeks.” Matthews has six sacks in five games with his new squad.
  • Long snapper Kevin McDermott underwent elbow surgery back in August, and the free agent has been cleared by doctors to resume snapping, tweets NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. The 29-year-old had spent the previous four seasons with the Vikings before getting cut by the team this past August. The UCLA product has appeared in 86 career games.

Injury Updates: Rams, Matthews, Giants, Engram

There’s still no official word on when Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews will return to action, but a realistic return date for him would be after the team’s bye week, head coach Sean McVay told reporters. That would line the veteran up for a Week 10 return on Nov. 10 against the Steelers, restoring one of the Rams’ defensive stars for a second-half push.

While Matthews’ busted jaw heals up, the Rams will face the 49ers in an intrastate matchup on Sunday.

Here’s more on some notable injuries from around the NFL:

  • Giants tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a sprained MCL, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). It’ll be a challenge for Engram to play against the Patriots on Thursday, Schefter hears, which would leave the club with Rhett Ellison, Garrett Dickerson, and Kaden Smith at TE. Meanwhile, wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out and running back Saquon Barkley is considered unlikely to play.
  • 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk suffered an MCL injury on Monday night against the Browns, a source tells NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The team should know more after an MRI on Tuesday. Juszczyk may not be a household name, but he’s a key part of SF’s offense.

Rams’ Clay Matthews Suffers Broken Jaw

Rams linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a broken jaw last night against the Seahawks, head coach Sean McVay told reporters. He’ll miss 4-6 weeks of action, leaving L.A. without one of its defensive stars. 

[RELATED: Rams Sign Jachai Polite To Practice Squad]

Matthews, 33, was bumped by younger players in Green Bay, but the Rams happily scooped him up with a two-year deal worth up to $16.75MM. Through five games this year, Matthews has rewarded their confidence with six sacks, including one takedown against Seattle.

It’s an undoubtedly frustrating situation for Matthews, who has been largely durable throughout his eleven-year NFL 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 this setback.

The Rams, at minimum, will be without Matthews for games against the 49ers, Falcons, and Bengals. After that, they have a bye week, so Matthews could theoretically return for Week 10 and miss only three games. If his estimated worst case scenario is accurate – and if he’s not placed on IR – Matthews should be back no later than the team’s Week 12 game against the Ravens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Njoku, Bengals

The Ravens‘ pattern of letting edge rushers walk in free agency included the departures of both Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith this year. Baltimore’s defense has allowed 500-plus yards the past two weeks. While the Ravens attempted to patch up their edge-rushing need with post-draft additions of Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray (since cut), they were on the lookout for higher-profile players earlier in free agency. In addition to their Ziggy Ansah and Gerald McCoy meetings, the Ravens expressed interest in Justin Houston and Clay Matthews, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Houston landed in Indianapolis, and Matthews has five sacks with the Rams (after a 3.5-sack 2018). The Ravens also made an offer to former Bengals and Broncos nose tackle Domata Peko this week, Zrebiec tweets. But it likely was not up to Peko’s liking, with the 13-year veteran still unsigned.

Baltimore also recognized this need early in the draft, with Zrebiec adding the team pursued several of the acclaimed first-round defensive linemen. But the ones the Ravens sought were evidently gone by the time they selected Marquise Brown.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Prior to the season’s outset, the Ravens discussed an extension with starting inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, according to Zrebiec. C.J. Mosley‘s former wing man, a third-year starter, has not played particularly well in his contract year. Onwuasor rates as a bottom-10 off-ball ‘backer, in the view of Pro Football Focus.
  • David Njoku expects to return from IR this season. The Browns tight end was dealing with a broken wrist and a concussion, but the third-year tight end is out of concussion protocol, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. The Browns will be without Njoku for at least six more weeks.
  • Cordy Glenn has missed every Bengals game this season and remains in concussion protocol. Obviously, this is a concerning situation for the veteran tackle. But Zac Taylor does expect the second-year Bengal to play this season, with Geoff Hobson adding (via Twitter) Glenn was attending a doctor’s appointment today. Andre Smith has struggled replacing Glenn, who was moved back to tackle (from his short-term left guard post) because of Jonah Williams‘ offseason injury.
  • Down A.J. Green and John Ross, the Bengals are scrambling at wide receiver. They worked out free agent DaMarkus Lodge, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This marks the Bengals’ first receiver workout since Ross’ latest injury. He is expected to be out for a few games. Lodge is a rookie UDFA out of Ole Miss.

West Notes: Gates, Matthews, Raiders, Cards

While the Chargers have a lesser need at the tight end position than they did when they brought Antonio Gates back for a 16th season, a 17th Gates campaign with the Bolts remains on the radar. But the team has the future Hall of Famer on the back-burner for the time being. Budgetary issues represent the Chargers’ near-future concerns, with Anthony Lynn saying (via Pro Football Talk) Tuesday the team informed Gates it may be a bit before a decision is reached on whether or not to bring him back. Tom Telesco sounded optimistic about a Gates return in January. Hunter Henry stands to be healthy for training camp, and Virgil Green remains on the roster. The Chargers had this duo healthy during free agency last year and bid farewell to Gates. Henry’s injury brought the parties back together, with Gates making $2.5MM. It will be interesting to see if the Bolts have all three on their roster this season.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • With Isaiah Crowell set to visit the Raiders on Thursday, the futures of Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin may soon become even more uncertain. However, Jon Gruden said (via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, subscription required) the door remains open on Lynch. Martin, however, may see Crowell — if Gruden gets his wish and he signs — push him aside. Martin’s asking price may have been too high, per Tafur (on Twitter). The Raiders had wanted to re-sign Martin, but not much has transpired on this front since free agency opened. Martin bounced back after consecutive seasons of 2.9 yards per carry, averaging 4.2 per tote and being the Raiders’ primary rusher following Lynch’s injury.
  • Clay Matthews received a decent mid-level deal to sign with the Rams, with Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reporting (on Twitter) the veteran outside linebacker’s contract is for two years and $12.75MM. Of that total, $6.5MM is guaranteed. Matthews’ deal can max out at $16.75MM. Matthews made more than $10MM in base salary in each of the past two seasons.
  • The NFL has intervened on the Broncos‘ ownership situation. Roger Goodell said 49ers GM Carmen Policy is serving as the arbitrator for the dispute between the Broncos’ Pat Bowlen Trust members and the owner’s two oldest daughters — Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Klemmer, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post (Twitter links). This process began a few weeks ago. Both Bowlen Wallace and Klemmer have filed a motion to dismiss the arbitration, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (on Twitter). This is Policy’s first time serving as an NFL arbitrator. The Bowlen Trust members are seeking the arbitrator to determine who will take over as the next Broncos owner, among other points (per Jhabvala). Brittany Bowlen has long been viewed as the Trust’s preferred candidate, and the 29-year-old is expected to return to the Broncos this year.
  • A defensive tackle in the Chargers’ 4-3 defense the past two seasons, Darius Philon will return to a role as a 3-4 defensive end with his new team. The Cardinals are planning to use Philon as an end, Kliff Kingsbury said (via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, on Twitter).
  • C.J. Prosise saw another injury cost him time last season, and Pete Carroll said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta) Tuesday the fourth-year running back underwent abdominal surgery recently. The Seahawks lost Mike Davis but still have Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Carroll remains hopeful Prosise can contribute, but the former third-round pick has gained just 129 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons.

Rams To Sign OLB Clay Matthews

Clay Matthews will be returning to southern California. The USC product and longtime Packer linebacker will sign with the Rams, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Via some uniform art, Matthews confirmed his decision (on Twitter).

The Rams and Matthews agreed on a two-year deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This deal will max out at $16.75MM, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). While it’s unlikely Matthews’ base salary surpasses $8MM, Ian Rapoport notes he was one of the Rams’ top free agency targets (Twitter link). With one of the linebacker’s homes located within minutes of the Rams’ training facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif., this seems like a convenient landing for the free agent sack artist.

More lucrative offers came Matthews’ way, per Garafolo, who adds staying close to home was a priority for the 11th-year linebacker. After entering last season with significant issues at outside linebacker, the Rams now have Matthews and Dante Fowler early in this offseason.

Matthews finished last season with a career-low 3.5 sacks. He saw his Packers job essentially given to younger pass rushers, with Green Bay replacing its Matthews-Nick Perry setup and going with a Preston SmithZa’Darius Smith combination. Rams rumors emerged last week, and the soon-to-be 33-year-old edge rusher is set to be a key part of Los Angeles’ pass rush.

The former USC Trojan and L.A.-area high school standout went on to record 83.5 sacks with the Packers, en route to six Pro Bowls. While those honors came between 2009-15, the Packers’ all-time sack leader working as a pass-rush specialist in L.A. would be interesting. Matthews, who collected a Super Bowl ring eight years ago, follows Eric Weddle to the defending NFC champions’ defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Interested In Clay Matthews?

The Rams could be a potential landing spot for Clay Matthews, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). The long-time Packers star is set to join another club for the first time in his career, and Los Angeles is the first club with reported interest.

We learned at the beginning of the 2018 campaign that Green Bay was prepared to let the 32-year-old linebacker (33 in May) hit free agency. And although Matthews produced just 3.5 sacks in 2018, he still graded out as an above-average edge defender, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. Plus, he is one year removed from a very strong 2017 campaign, when he recorded 7.5 sacks and graded out as one of the better pass rushers in the league.

The double-digit sack seasons appear to be in the rear-view mirror, but Matthews clearly has something left in the tank as a situational pass rusher. The Rams have a couple of members of their front seven who are capable of getting to the quarterback (see, Aaron Donald, Dante Fowler), and Matthews would further enhance a unit that ranked in the middle of the pack in sacks last season.

Matthews has six Pro Bowl bids and one First Team All-Pro nod to his credit, though he hasn’t received either honor since the 2015 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Unlikely To Re-Sign Clay Matthews?

The Packers are unlikely to re-sign pass rusher Clay Matthews, according to Bob McGinn of BobMcGinnFootball.com, who reports Green Bay would let Matthews walk in free agency if the season ended today.

Matthews, 32, is in the final season of a five-year, $66MM extension he signed in April 2013. Next year, he’s scheduled to earn a base salary of $10.4MM and count for roughly $11.338MM on Green Bay’s salary cap. A new deal for Matthews could reduce his 2018 cap figure, especially if it contains a signing bonus that would prorate over the life of the pact, and Matthews recently indicated his representatives have discussed an extension with the Packers.

“My agency and upstairs have had talks,” Matthews said. “We’ll see where it goes. At the same time, I’ll just go out there and do my things and let the pieces fall where they may. “I’ve been here going on 10 years, so I’d like to obviously add a few more to that. I’m not in control of that. All I can control is what I do on Sundays, and hopefully it’s a big year.”

Of course, the primary reason there are conflicting reports on Matthews is that the season isn’t over: the Packers don’t have any impetus to address Matthews’ contact at this point, but the veteran linebacker could conceivably change the club’s mind over the course of the year. While Green Bay may be inclined to let Matthews leave via free agency next spring, it doesn’t appear that any strategy is set in stone.

As Matthews has aged, the Packers have reduced his snaps. Over the past two years, Matthews averaged only 566 snaps per season; conversely, from 2012-15, he saw action on 801 plays per year. That reduced usage may have helped Matthews’ play, as he graded as the NFL’s No. 22 pass rusher last season, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned Matthews his best marks since the 2012 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers, Clay Matthews Have Discussed Extension

The Packers have discussed an extension with edge rusher Clay Matthews, according to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

“My agency and upstairs have had talks,” Matthews said. “We’ll see where it goes. At the same time, I’ll just go out there and do my things and let the pieces fall where they may. “I’ve been here going on 10 years, so I’d like to obviously add a few more to that. I’m not in control of that. All I can control is what I do on Sundays, and hopefully it’s a big year.”

Matthews, 32, is in the final season of a five-year, $66MM extension he signed in April 2013. Next year, he’s scheduled to earn a base salary of $10.4MM and count for roughly $11.338MM on Green Bay’s salary cap. A new deal for Matthews could reduce his 2018 cap figure, especially if it contains a signing bonus that would prorate over the life of the pact.

As Matthews has aged, the Packers have reduced his snaps. Over the past two years, Matthews averaged only 566 snaps per season; conversely, from 2012-15, he saw action on 801 plays per year. That reduced usage may have helped Matthews’ play, as he graded as the NFL’s No. 22 pass rusher last season, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned Matthews his best marks since the 2012 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Schwartz, Matthews, Godwin, Panthers

This past offseason, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was often talked about as a potential target for teams with head coaching vacancies. He was floated as a candidate for several head coaching jobs, but didn’t get any of them.

Schwartz has seen his coaching career revitalized after a resurgent Eagles defense that he oversaw ended up winning the Super Bowl this past year. Schwartz was the head coach of the Lions from 2009 to 2013, and most people seem to think the recent success of the Eagles’ defense will land him another head coaching gig at some point.

In a recent article, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders how long the Eagles will be able to keep Schwartz, and opines that he’ll likely be gone sooner rather than later. McLane notes that Schwartz doesn’t seem particularly attached to the Eagles when he speaks to the press, and that he isn’t likely to be the type of coordinator that sticks around for many years. Schwartz isn’t really keeping it a secret that he wants to be a head coach again, and he’ll likely be moving on from the Eagles whenever the first opportunity presents itself.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Packers linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a broken nose during a charity softball game and had to be transported to the hospital (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). Matthews has already missed time during OTAs due to a knee injury, so the broken nose shouldn’t effect things too much.
  • Buccaneers second-year wide receiver Chris Godwin had an issue with his mouthguard last season that caused his breathing and stamina to suffer, reports Jenna Laine of ESPN (Twitter link). Laine notes that the issue has since been corrected and that she’s expecting “big things” from him in 2018. It’s significant because the Bucs have made it very clear they love Godwin, and the team could seek to get out of DeSean Jackson‘s contract after this year with Jackson having very little guaranteed money beyond this season.
  • Some NFL owners “dreamt” that the Panthers would sell for $3 billion, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Instead, the Panthers sold to Dave Tepper for $2.275 billion. Breer notes that if the Broncos, who have faced recent controversy surrounding their ownership, were to go up for sale it wouldn’t be “unrealistic” for them to get $3 billion. The value of NFL franchises continues to skyrocket, and the fact that some owners thought the Panthers might get $3 billion shows there’s no sign of the increase slowing down.