• Matt Woolsey

We Have the Technology: Can Kyle Shanahan Make Jordan Matthews a Viable WR?

Image Credit: Philadelphia Eagles

Who is Jordan Matthews?

Jordan Matthews is a former second-round pick from Vanderbilt. He had both SEC and school records with 262 receptions and 3,759 yards. The 24 career touchdowns he gained while at Vanderbilt is also a school record. He was drafted by the Eagles 42nd overall during the failed Chip Kelly experiment. The Eagles moved up 12 spots to draft him.

He didn’t set the world on fire but managed over 800 yards and eight touchdowns, including a game against the Panthers where he caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. During his rookie season he had quarterbacks like a pre-Doug Pederson Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez.

His sophomore season was about same as his rookie season. He was three yards shy from breaking 1,000 yards but once again had eight touchdowns for the Eagles. His quarterback situation didn’t improve in Philly when he had Sam Bradford and the butt-fumbling Sanchez once again slinging the pigskin. But almost over 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns on an abysmal team over your first two years in the league isn’t bad.

As Matthews was gearing up for his third year in the league the Eagles drafted their quarterback of the future in Carson Wentz. However, Wentz would struggle his rookie season, throwing for less than 3,800 yards with only 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. As Wentz struggled so did Matthews with only three touchdowns in the 2016 season.

In the following year Matthews would be traded to upstate New York where he would play one season with the Buffalo Bills. Let’s just say the leading receiver for the Bills was tight end Charles Clay followed by running back LeSean McCoy. Matthews did miss six games due to injury, but I am not sure if it would have made much a difference in the land where wide receivers die.

Matthews would leave in free agency after his brief stint with the Bills and a hamstring injury would cost him a contract with the New England Patriots. After the 2018 season already started Matthews would find himself back in Philly. The Eagles team as a whole was very up and down except for some late-season magic by Nick Foles but the inconsistent season led to a lackluster performance for Matthews. Following the Eagles’ division-round loss to the Saints, Matthews was once again in the free agent market.

He then signed a one-year $1.8 million-dollar deal with the San Francisco 49ers. How much can we expect from Matthews in the Kyle Shanahan offense? Matthews found success on the football field with Chip Kelly. But now we’re talking about Shanahan, who is more accomplished than Kelly. But we haven’t seen much success in the past few seasons. Sixteen of Matthews 22 touchdowns have come in the red zone. Where have the 49ers struggled the most? If Shanahan has a much better offensive mind than Kelly and Matthews has found a lot of success in the red zone, this seems like it could be a great pairing for the upcoming season. He will give Jimmy Garoppolo another weapon alongside Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, George Kittle, and Jerick McKinnon. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s not like it was a ton of money.

However, Matthews will be 27 this season and in the prime of his career. If he can stay healthy he may just be the missing weapon to get the 49ers over the hump in the red zone that may lead to more touchdowns and less Robbie Gould.

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