Clay Matthews’ time with the Rams was brief and didn’t yield the value that either side had hoped for, but he did record eight sacks in 13 games and cause some of the disruption on quarterbacks that he became known for during 10 years with the Packers. Matthews was released and became a free agent this offseason and the Seahawks and Browns were at least two teams connected to him in 2020, but he has yet to sign with any team. He also didn’t announce retirement.
His agent wants to make it clear for anyone who didn’t notice, including ESPN, that he didn’t retire.
On Thursday, Adam Schefter said that the Broncos contacted Matthews’ camp after they lost star linebacker Von Miller for the season on Wednesday, but that they were told he is “not going to play” this year. Connecting the two sides makes sense, Matthews has been productive in the past playing outside linebacker and there aren’t many available options with days to go until the first game. They aren’t going to replace Miller’s production or presence or fix the issue that his absence creates, but Matthews is a sensible option.
Denver expressed interest in signing former Rams’ and Packers’ LB Clay Matthews, but was told he is “not going to play,” per source. Matthews would have been a strong replacement for the injured Von Miller.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 10, 2020
It’s just that the reason he isn’t going to play for the Broncos isn’t that he doesn’t play to play at all. He didn’t want to play in Denver right now based on whatever it was that they offered him. His agent Ryan Williams released a statement saying that they were “under the impression that communication would remain private” and “Clay remains open to playing in the NFL in 2020.”
It was noted by the NFL’s Tom Pelissero that Matthews could be looking to get at least $2 million, based on the fact that his bonus will be offset by any new deal he signs.
The #Rams owed Clay Matthews a $2 million bonus before he was cut this past March, and that’d be offset by any new contract he signs. So, it doesn’t make much sense to take a bargain offer. https://t.co/MpOXCli4xM— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 10, 2020
After Matthews’ agent took issue with Schefter’s wording of his tweet, Schefter decided to write a tweet with a clear message that wouldn’t have sounded as interesting.
To be clear: Clay Matthews wasn’t willing to play right now for what the Broncos offered. He is still open to play for the right opportunity for him and his family. https://t.co/t65u5V4Xge— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 10, 2020
If Matthews is willing to play again, he could sign with a team midseason and will likely get opportunities as other injuries mount up and clubs have a clear picture of their financial and personnel situations. The Rams did lose linebackers Cory Littleton, Dante Fowler and Travin Howard from their options at the position, in addition to Matthews, but would Brandon Staley have a place for him in the same way that Wade Phillips does?
I’d say that’s not an option.
But Matthews wants to make it clear he’s keeping his options open.