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August 03, 2019

Eagles mailbag: Checking in on Jordan Matthews (for comp pick purposes)

In our Eagles chat on Friday there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from bula412: Jimmy, any word on how Jordan Matthews is doing in San Fran? Are we in danger of losing another comp pick?

OK, so for those of you who have no idea what bula412 is talking about, teams are awarded compensatory picks for losing more players in free agency than they gain. The level of pick gained (third round, fourth round, fifth round, etc.) is determined by the size of the contracts signed, as well as a cancelling out process to determine which players will actually yield comp picks. That's the short-short version.

Referencing OverTheCap's comp pick cancellation chart, here is where the Eagles stand in terms of gaining comp picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. As you can see, they are currently in line for third- and fourth-round picks, but any number of things can change that:

Players lost (APY) - Projected round Players gained (APY) - Projected round 
 Nick Foles ($22,000,000) - 3L.J. Fort ($1,633,333) - 7 
Golden Tate ($9,375,000) - 4Andrew Sendejo ($1,300,000) - 7 
 Jordan Hicks ($9,000,000) - 4 
 Jordan Matthews ($1,800,000) - 7 

Jordan Matthews is of interest because he is currently being canceled out by Andrew Sendejo. Should the 49ers cut Matthews by Week 10, he will no longer count toward the comp pick formula, and Golden Tate would be canceled out instead, resulting in a loss of a (projected) fourth-round pick.

ESPN's 49ers beat writer, Nick Wagoner, has Matthews getting cut in his most recent 53-man projection:

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Trent Taylor, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne

This competition should be one of the stories of the summer for the Niners as they have at least eight legitimate candidates for what will probably be just six roster spots. Pettis, Samuel and Hurd figure to be locks based on recent draft status but from there, the 49ers have to sort through a group that includes Taylor, Goodwin, Bourne, Jordan Matthews and Richie James. Taylor had a strong spring, looks to be healthy and has the inside track on the slot job but there are no guarantees in that group. Matthews is the toughest omission, given that he brings a size element otherwise lacking in the group but the early suspicion here is the Niners favor Bourne's upside and knowledge of the offense over Matthews' size.

Certainly, Wagoner knows the 49ers infinitely more than I do, however, the counter-argument that I would raise for Matthews sticking with the team is that the majority of the other receivers Wagoner has making the team are very young:

 49ers WRsAge NFL seasons Career stats 
 Dante Pettis23 27-467-5 
 Deebo Samuel23 Rookie N/A 
 Jalen Hurd23 Rookie N/A 
 Trent Taylor25 69-645-3 
 Marquise Goodwin28 128-2137-12 
 Kendrick Bourne23 58-744-4 

By comparison:

49ers WRs NFL seasons Rec Yards TD 
 Those 6 guys above11 282 3993 24 
 Jordan Matthews270 3255 22 

I guess the point I'm going a really long way toward making here is that Matthews, even with his deficiencies, is a professional receiver, whereas a lot of the guys above are still sort of unknowns. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch have a 10-22 record since joining the team, and while there was some bad luck sprinkled in, they still need to begin showing some results in 2019. 

Their quarterback only has 10 career starts, and could probably use an experienced receiver like Matthews. If they cut him, then heading into a season with that much inexperience on offense could be dicey.

Question from Rob: Which team on the 2019 reg season schedule is the worst match-up for the Eagles?

This seemed like a difficult question during the chat itself, but after re-reading it, it's really pretty easy. It's the Saints. They have a very good offensive line to help offset the Eagles' pass rush, and Drew Brees gets the ball out quickly. That kind of offense will always give the Eagles' defense fits, and the Saints just also happen to have some pretty good personnel executing it. Plus, you know, they beat the Eagles twice last year, so there's that.

UPDATE: Derp, in an effort to write something quickly before I had to leave for practice, I missed the part of the question that narrowed the pool of teams down to the Eagles' 2019 opponents. I'm now fixing this in the parking lot of the Mexican Food Factory in Marlton. Sooooo, looking at their opponents... Ummmm, the Seahawks? Let's go with them, ha. 

Question from Tennessee Derek Barnett: James, why hasn't a deal for Clowney already happened? The Eagles have cap space, an aggressive GM, a trade-able swing tackle to a team in desperate need, multiple draft picks and players to package... thoughts on Vaitai + 2020 2nd + 2021 2nd & 4th?

There was a report from Charles Robinson of Yahoo that poured water over the Eagles' interest in Clowney: 

I personally have no idea about Clowney's personality, so I can't comment on that, but I will say that one of the under-told stories of the Eagles' Super Bowl run was the closeness that that team had. I see a lot of that same chemistry developing with this squad, so if there are any questions about Clowney's character, to go along with the steep price it would take to acquire him, I can see why the Eagles would be hesitant to make a splash move for him, aggressive as they may be otherwise.

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