Will Clay Matthews be coming home to the Cleveland Browns?
By Greg Newland
Numerous cuts continued in the NFL this week including Clay Mathews III. Is Mathews what could be missing in the Cleveland Browns locker room?
The Los Angeles Rams have made multiple cap clearing cuts this week including Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews on Thursday. Now that the outside linebacker is a free agent, the Cleveland Browns should certainly take a close look at the pass-rushing specialist.
In 2009, the Green Bay Packers traded into the first round to draft Matthews No. 26 overall. Matthews spent 10 great years with the Packers, earning six pro-bowl invitations as well as earning All-Pro honors in 2010. Matthews was durable and effective for the Packers, playing in at least 14 games in seven of his 10 seasons and accomplishing double-digit sacks in four seasons.
Matthews could bring two important traits to the Browns, with the first being versatility. While Matthews has played much of his career at outside linebacker, but he also proved to be extremely effective at middle linebacker in a few seasons when the Packers were riddled with injuries.
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Second and most importantly, Matthews will be a vocal leader in the locker room, which appears to be crucial after departures of Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert. Let’s also not forget this guy can still rush the passer when needed. On third and long, Myles Garrett would love to have Matthews on the opposite side of him to help prevent double teams.
Matthews is known as a 3-4 outside linebacker, which would not be ideal for a 4-3 Joe Woods defense. However, Matthews could easily adjust as a pass-rushing defensive end on third down and play middle linebacker on rushing downs. After a large contract in Green Bay, Matthews took a discount in LA and could be affordable depth for the Browns.
Mathews is a California kid and attended the University of Southern California, but let’s not forget the great ties to the city of Cleveland. His father Clay Mathews Jr. is in the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor and played 16 seasons for the Browns. In those 16 seasons, Matthews Jr. accumulated 62 sacks and over 1,400 tackles.
Not only was Matthews Jr. a star for the Cleveland Browns, he is fighting for a well-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame. This one feels too easy, bring Clay home.