The Browns Shouldn’t Sign Clay Matthews III

Clay Matthews is a name of royalty in Cleveland. From 1978 to 1993 he was the Browns starting linebacker and had 1,561 tackles, good for third-most all time. His son, Clay Matthews III, has been one of the top linebackers in the NFL since he entered the league in 2009. He’s a six-time Pro-Bowler, was a first-team All-Pro and is a Super Bowl champion. 

Matthews was a major force on the Packers defense from 2009-2018. In the 10 seasons that Matthews played in Green Bay, he racked up nearly 500 tackles, 83.5 sacks and had a combined 26 interceptions, forced and recovered fumbles. However, he regressed in his later years with his last four seasons having his worst, second-worst, fourth-worst, and fifth-worst seasons in terms of tackles. He hasn’t had an interception since 2015 and hasn’t made a Pro Bowl since then, either. 

The linebacker moved to Los Angeles to play for the Rams in 2019, starting in 13 games. He played well, getting eight sacks and forcing two fumbles, both of which were his most since 2014. He had nine tackles for loss, his best since 2015. He had experience at all three linebacker positions, but he primarily played the outside linebacker positions. 

There was contact between Matthews and the Broncos less than a week ago, but despite an offer from Denver, Matthews turned down the deal. There has been speculation that Matthews could also join the Dallas Cowboys, who lost star Leighton Vander-Esch for the next six to eight weeks.

The Browns have a major need for a linebacker due to the loss of Joe Schobert in free agency and the injury to Mack Wilson. The current linebacker core for the Browns is made up of B.J. Goodson, Sione Takitaki and Jacob Phillips.

Phillips is a rookie, Takitaki had just his second career start last weekend and Goodson is the veteran of the group but has only once started more than 10 games. While the veteran presence of Matthews could be useful, it would likely be an expensive and possibly a multi-year deal. With the thirty-four-year-old Matthews having failed to make the Pro Bowl in any of the last four seasons, it seems a bad call to give him a big contract.

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