By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Wide receiver Rishard Matthews is about to hit the open market. The Tennessee Titans are releasing Matthews on Thursday, after the veteran wideout hinted on Instagram that he and the Titans are parting ways.
Titans GM Jon Robinson confirmed on Thursday that they are releasing Matthews. He also corroborated reports that Matthews asked the team for a trade, but the Titans couldn’t find a partner.
“We explored the trade option with several teams, and I would say that market never really manifested itself to get a deal,” said Robinson (via TitansOnline.com).
Bill Belichick likely wasn’t giving up a low draft pick to get Matthews. You can safely assume that Robinson gave him a call. But that doesn’t mean the Patriots might not consider bringing Matthews in to at least work him out. If they’re working out Jeremy Kerley, perhaps they give Matthews a closer look.
Is He The Same Player?
Matthews made only three catches on just six targets in three games with the Titans to start the 2018 season. He played the third-most snaps at receiver (95) on the team, behind Corey Davis and Tajae Sharpe. He’s played more snaps than Taywan Taylor (95-65), but Taylor has seen more targets with 12.
It’s unclear why Matthews saw a dip in playing time in his final three games with the Titans. But clearly, he believes he can still make a bigger difference with another team. It doesn’t appear that teams agree with him to the extent that they’re willing to give up a pick to acquire him.
Money is also a consideration with the 28-year-old Matthews. He was due a base salary of $5 million and a cap hit of over $8.3 million to start the season. No team would take that kind of money on for a receiver who wouldn’t be a slam-dunk for the active roster.
However, the Patriots are in a situation unlike many teams at the receiver position. Matthews had 53 catches for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games just last season for the Titans, and led the team in targets. He made 65 catches for 945 yards and nine touchdowns in 2016. He played at Gillette Stadium as recently as January’s AFC Divisional Playoff.
Has Matthews really fallen that far off from his level of play two years ago? It wouldn’t hurt the Patriots to bring him in and find out.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.