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Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jordan Matthews free agent contract projection

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Are you willing to pay a premium for Matthews?

Jordan Matthews came to the Buffalo Bills as part of the trade that landed Ronald Darby with the Philadelphia Eagles. Matthews spent a good portion of the year playing through injuries and dealing with an ineffective offense and didn’t match his prior production when he was force fed in Philly.

Will teams pay for Matthews’ Philly production or his injury-plagued Bills production? On the open market, his potential is on full display and Matthews has former offensive coaches in three spots who might want to bring his experience to town; his former team the Eagles and coach Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts, or John DeFilippo and the Minnesota Vikings. If Buffalo wants to retain Matthews, it will probably cost them a pretty penny.

Previous contract

His rookie deal was a 4-year pact that has paid him just over $4.95 million dollars. He made just over one million dollars for his lone season in Buffalo

2014 cap: $899,867
2015 cap: $1.125 million
2016 cap: $1.35 million
2017 cap: $1.1 million (Buffalo) plus $480,000 (Philadelphia)

Comparables

Last offseason, the Buffalo Bills lost two wide receivers to bigger contracts than most folks expected when Robert Woods signed with the Los Angeles Rams and Marquise Goodwin signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Matthews’ production on his rookie contract exceeds both players, but is most comparable to Woods. Kenny Still also signed a contract extension with the Miami Dolphins last offseason. Let’s compare the three players a bit. (All the stats are for the players first four years in the league before they signed their second deals.)

Free Agent Receiver Comparison

Player Seasons Team(s) Yards/catch Yards/game Targets/game Touchdowns Games played
Player Seasons Team(s) Yards/catch Yards/game Targets/game Touchdowns Games played
Robert Woods 2013-2016 Buffalo Bills 12.1 43 5.78 12 57
Kenny Stills 2013-2016 Saints/Dolphins 16.7 43.5 4.5 20 63
Jordan Matthews 2014-2017 Eagles/Bills 11.8 52.8 6.82 20 56

Matthews’ best season was in Philadelphia with Chip Kelly running as many plays as possible and when he was being forced the ball early and often. He topped out at 85 catches for 997 yards and 8 touchdowns in his second season.

Stills’ best season was in 2014 when he was demoted by the New Orleans Saints. He started only 7 games but hauled in 63 catches for 931 yards and three touchdowns. He had nine touchdowns in 2016, right before cashing in. Stills signed a four-year, $32 million contract last offseason.

Prior to joining the Rams on a five-year, $34 million contract, Woods’ best season was also 2014 when he caught 65 passes on 104 targets for 699 yards and five touchdowns off the arm of Kyle Orton. So maybe it was a quarterback problem with EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor under center in his other three seasons...

Contract Projection

Spotrac projects a four-year, $35.4 million deal for Matthews averaging $8.8 million per season.

Four years, $30 million with $10 million guaranteed including a $6 million signing bonus

2018

Salary: $2 million (guaranteed)
Pro-rated bonus money: $1.5 million
Cap hit: $3.5 million

2019

Salary: $5 million
Roster bonus: $2 million (guaranteed)
Pro-rated bonus money: $1.5 million
Cap hit: $8.5 million

2020

Salary: $5 million
Roster bonus: $2 million
Pro-rated bonus money: $1.5 million
Cap hit: $8.5 million

2021

Salary: $8 million
Pro-rated bonus money: $1.5 million
Cap hit: $9.5 million

  • Pros for Matthews: Year 3 roster bonus allows him to cash in again at age 27 if Bills release him, $8 million in first year and $10 million guaranteed
  • Pros for Bills: low cap hit in first year, ability to get out after each year of the deal

Poll

Would you pay Jordan Matthews a four-year, $30 million deal?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Yes
    (390 votes)
  • 63%
    No
    (669 votes)
1059 votes total Vote Now