The Oakland Raiders with Jon Gruden at the helm will look to be one of the top offenses in the NFL in 2018. The Raiders already have a good quarterback in place with Derek Carr, two good receivers in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, and according to NFL Spin Zone, a possible third with Jordan Matthews.
Yes, this is the same Matthews who stunk it up in his only season with the Buffalo Bills after being traded by the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2017, Matthews caught 25 passes for 282 yards and one touchdown after a 2016 season in which he registered 73 receptions and 804 yards for the Eagles. Matthews played in 10 games for the Bills while starting just seven. Even so, a change of scenery and quarterback could do wonders for Matthews and the Raiders.
While Matthews had a bad season in 2017, there’s no sign that trend will continue. Carr is a far different quarterback and leader than Tyrod Taylor, and the Raiders have talent spread throughout their offense where Matthews doesn’t have to shine every week. Matthews has been the No. 1 receiver before and understands what it takes to produce. In Gruden’s offense with Crabtree and Cooper, his role will be diminished much as the third receiver. But that doesn’t mean a signing won’t be a smart move. What the Raiders must think about is the Eagles and how they managed to win Super Bowl LII. It was a collection of players who knew their role. Matthews could be the Torrey Smith of the Raiders.
What will make this a great deal for the Raiders is the money. According to Spotrac, the market value for Jordan is $8.8 million, but there is no way a team will be willing to pay that for 25 receptions. The Raiders may be able to get away with a smaller deal around the $5 million mark.
The Raiders finished the 2017 season ranked 16th in passing yards and receiving touchdowns in what was viewed as a down year for Carr. With a new scheme in place, the Raiders can get back to where they were in 2016 when Crabtree and Cooper both went over 1,000 yards receiving.
While Seth Roberts and Cordarrelle Patterson played their roles in 2017, adding Matthews to the mix will give Gruden a third option most teams wish they had.