The New England Patriots have watched several players walk out the door over the past 48 hours. Is it time for the team to start replacing some of the departing players some new, but recognizable names? An NFC West power just made a former Pro-Bowler available.
The Los Angeles Rams have released 33-year-old linebacker Clay Matthews III along with running back Todd Gurley in a major reshaping of the team’s identity on both sides of the ball.
Clay Matthews’ Scheme Preference and Fit
If there is any veteran linebacker whose skill set is a solid fit for what Bill Belichick and Co. like to do on the defensive side of the ball, it’s Matthews. In fact, Belichick coached Matthews’ dad when the former was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1991-95. At the 3:57 mark of the video below, Clay Matthews Jr. discusses his time with Belichick:
Matthews has already played in a variety of 3-4 schemes and excelled. He has four seasons with 10 or more sacks, and he recorded eight sacks in 2019 for the Rams.
There is a definite match as it pertains to scheme, football IQ, work ethic, experience, and leadership. It might also be cool to see Matthews and Chase Winovich on the same team from an optics standpoint. Both look like WWE Superstars from the past, present or future. Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal seems to concur:
Clay Matthews’ Potential Salary Demands
Matthews was headed into the second season of a two-year $9.25 million deal with the Rams before he was released.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
It stands to reason Matthews could be had on a one-year deal for an affordable rate. The real question is whether the Patriots are still looking to proceed in a win-now mode, or whether they are completely committed to a rebuild. Their actions–or lack thereof–suggest the latter.
Patriots’ Lack of Appeal Amidst Team Uncertainty
There is also no guarantee Matthews would be interested in joining the Patriots.
For the first time in almost two decades, the organization is in a state of major transition. For so long, the team’s identity has been defined by Belichick and Brady. With Brady headed to Tampa Bay and so many players on offense and defense changing addresses, the direction of the franchise isn’t clear.
That’s not usually a profile that would be attractive to a veteran like Matthews who has already won a Super Bowl, been to six Pro Bowls and is less likely to be inclined to simply hang around in the NFL.
Things can change quickly, but for now, it wouldn’t be smart to place the Patriots as a frontrunner for Matthews’ services.