Ex-Packers LB Clay Matthews Could Be a Fit For Falcons

Clay Matthews

Getty Former inside linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers whips his hair.

The Los Angeles Rams released linebacker Clay Matthews in March along with running back Todd Gurley. Atlanta was quick to sign Gurley and a handful of other former first-round picks, but haven’t budged on Matthews.

Most recently, the Falcons signed Deone Buccanon with hopes to improve their pass-rush, and adding another veteran doesn’t sound too shabby.

Matthews is mainly an outside linebacker but has experience inside as well and has proven to be very versatile in his role on defense, the Falcons love a hybrid player.

Matthews turns 34 in May and has a lot of experience with the league. He’d be an affordable asset to add to the Falcons’ roster and depth at linebacker.

They’ve Done ‘It’ Before

By ‘it’ I meant that the Falcons have brought in an older vet to show the rookies how it’s done and have been pretty successful with it.

In 2016, the Falcons snagged Dwight Freeney for on a smaller deal who helped turn the young defense around. That same year the Falcons made it to the infamous Super Bowl LI where they blew it but still, won a notable NFC championship win.

The then, 36-year-old played 18 out of 19 games and had two starts. He played 415 snaps with four sacks.

When Freeney who was a former first-round pick by the Colts in 2002 came to Atlanta, Falcons 24-year-old LB Vic Beasley had a breakout season and owed it all to Freeney’s mentorship.

“He’s meant so much to me,” Beasley said of Freeney in an interview with ESPN. “Bringing him on this team and into this organization has been a great help. He just preaches a work-hard mentality and competes at a high level and the way to prepare yourself each and every week.”
Beasley recorded a career-best of 15.5 sacks.
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 ‘The Claymaker’

In his single season as a Ram, Matthews started 13 games at linebacker. He recorded 51 tackles, 10 sacks, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, and seven pass deflections.

Since entering the league in 2009, Matthews has spent most of his career in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers where he earned the nickname ‘Claymaker’ after dominating early in his career as a playmaker. The Packers selected him with the No. 26 overall after the Falcons passed on him for a defensive tackle, Jeria Perry.

Throughout his NFL career, Matthews has tallied 519 tackles, 91.5 sacks, six interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, and three defensive touchdowns. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro and owns a Super Bowl ring after helping the Packers defeat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

Not Enough Money?

The Falcons make have spent too much money elsewhere to even afford someone like Clay Matthews. But, it doesn’t matter because they can come up with the funds even if it means they need to restructure a player’s contract like Julio Jones’. They did that back in April with Matt Ryans to create more cap space for Clay’s cousin on the team, Jake Matthews.

Plus it would be a one-year deal so it wouldn’t put much at risk. Atlanta just needs to get creative like Thomas Dimitroff’s plan has been this whole time.

Gurley dominating on the offense then Matthews and his luscious locks mentoring the defense while throwing some sacks around would be so cool.

The bottom line is, Matthews will at least see any amount of money Falcons would offer him since the Rams won’t pay up.

READ NEXT: From High School Dropout to Todd Gurley’s Performance Coach?


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