Jordan Matthews will have large shoes to fill as he has chosen to don the number 80 next year for the Patriots.
“Yeah, 80,” said Matthews on Thursday as he met with the media in Foxboro. “I actually talked to Danny. That’s my guy. I knew Danny. Yeah, I met Danny at Sam Bradford’s wedding, so that was the other one. So I talked to Danny about it; he said I could have it. I’ve got a lot of respect for his game.”
Matthews was the latest addition in an offseason overhaul for the Patriots. A team that came just shy of their sixth Super Bowl. The former Bills and Eagles receiver inked a one-year deal with the defending AFC Champions a week ago. The move came on the heels of the team trading Brandin Cooks to the Rams. Cooks, of course, was a big acquisition last season and played an important role in the team returning to the Super Bowl.
“Probably the biggest reason was I knew this was the best opportunity for me to grow as a player,” said Matthews on why he signed with the Patriots. “I had some other teams that contacted me that I visited. I knew just as a player and as a man – I’m recently married. I’m about to have my first child. I don’t feel like I’m called to be comfortable and I knew this would be great place for me to grow, not only as a player, but as a man in general. I’m looking forward to getting to know the guys and really getting to work this whole offseason.”
“When I walked into the building I could feel that there was an aura of ‘Let’s get better every day’… They were very detailed. They were very specific with me on what they thought about me and areas that they thought I could grow in. I appreciated that more than anything. I appreciated that type of honesty and so when I got back to the hotel with Cheyna, we just talked about it and we knew this is definitely the best place.”
Despite the trade of Cooks, Matthews joins a pretty crowded wide receiver room. Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett, and Kenny Britt return after finishing out the 2017 season. In addition, the team expects both Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell to return. Both of whom missed the entire 2017 season. And, of course, they added Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason as well. Although most figure he was brought in for return duties, the departure of Cooks makes it seem as though they have bigger plans.
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For Matthews, it will be about finding a niche in this offense and, of course, gaining the trust of soon to be 41-year-old quarterback and reigning MVP, Tom Brady. Not the easiest thing to do for some veteran receivers.
“In all seriousness, it’s an honor to be able to play in an offense like this, in general, ran by Coach McDaniels and then have a quarterback like Tom to be able to learn from and get better with,” said Matthews. “I think that’s something that any wide receiver should be excited about.”
Matthews struggled last season with injuries. However, he says he is 100 percent healthy as we inch closer to the offseason program. The move for the Patriots could really turn out to be a steal if he does remain healthy and finds his place in this offense.
In 56 career games, Matthews has 250 receptions for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns with the Bills and Eagles. He has never played in a playoff game. That will certainly change this season for the Vanderbilt alum.