Rams bolster pass rush by adding Packers legend Clay Matthews on a two-year deal
On Tuesday, Matthews joined the Los Angeles Rams, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Matthews turned down more money elsewhere to sign a two-year deal worth up to $16.75 million with the Rams, who are temporarily playing their home games at the Coliseum. That’s the home of the USC football team, which is where Matthews spent his college years. Matthews also played high-school ball close to the Rams’ practice facility. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Matthews has a home that’s just minutes away from the facility. In other words, he’s coming home.
The Rams and Matthews have provided confirmation:
Matthews departs Green Bay as the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks with 83.5. He earned six trips to the Pro Bowl and one first-team All-Pro selection during his 10 years with the Packers — in addition to helping them win a Super Bowl. He’s undoubtedly a franchise legend.
But he’s no longer the pass rusher he once was. Over the past three seasons, he’s averaged a little more than five sacks per season. In a full 16-game season in 2018, he generated a career-low sack total of 3.5. He’ll turn 33 in May.
So the Rams are not acquiring a game-changing pass rusher. Instead, what they’re getting is a veteran who can bolster what is already a decent pass rush after. Matthews has also, at times, demonstrated the ability to play inside linebacker. He’s the kind of luxury signing a team like the Rams can afford to make as they look to get over the hump after falling short in the Super Bowl. And if anyone can get a little bit more out of an aging pass rusher, it’s defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
It’d be surprising if Matthews cleared the double-digit sack threshold in his 11th season, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he finds a way to make an subtler impact on a defensive front that also, of course, includes Aaron Donald. For Matthews, he gets to spend the latter stages of his career in L.A. while playing for a Super Bowl contender.
Tuesday ended up being a difficult day for the Packers, who officially said goodbye to two iconic players from the past decade in Matthews and receiver Randall Cobb, who . The Packers weren’t at all wrong to part ways with both players due to their diminishing outputs, but that probably doesn’t make seeing those players leave Green Bay any easier.