As we have worked our way through profiles of potential New York Giants free agent targets, we have already touched on wide receivers Marvin Jones [profile] and Mohamed Sanu [profile] of the Cincinnati Bengals. Let's add another receiving option to the list -- Rishard Matthews of the Miami Dolphins.
The 26-year-old Matthews, who is 6-foot, 212 pounds, was a 2012 seventh-round draft pick by the Dolphins. He caught a career-best 43 passes in just 11 games last season before suffering a season-ending rib injury, averaging 15.4 yards per catch and scoring four touchdowns. Miami has only $7.4 million in estimated cap space with a projected $154 million cap. They have defensive end Olivier Vernon and running back Lamar Miller among other unrestricted free agents. With Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and veteran Greg Jennings on the roster, Miami may be unwilling to enter a bidding war for Matthews.
Here is what Kevin Nogle of SB Nation's Dolphins blog, The Phinsider, had to say about Matthews:
I think Matthews absolutely will be a number two wide receiver in the league. He has developed nicely since being a seventh-round draft pick, and I understand his reticence to re-sign in Miami, where he appears to be behind Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker at best. I do hope Miami finds a way to keep him, however, because those three, along with Kenny Stills, should provide a dynamic nucleus for the offense for years to come.
Matthews started last year wanting to be traded because he appeared to be the fifth receiver on the roster in the offseason. But the end of training camp and into the preseason, he was third on the depth chart behind Landry and Greg Jennings. He passed Jennings during the season and was having a great year before broken ribs caused him to miss the last five games. He should have reached the 1,000-yard mark, if not for the injury.
He is going to make himself some money this offseason. Hopefully, the Dolphins, who are reported to have already contacted him about an extension, can find a way to make it work. If not, he should be considered as a possible number two receiver for the Giants, or someone else.
Below, the kind of catch-and-run big play that Ben McAdoo's offense is reliant upon:
Pro Football Focus ranks Matthews as the No. 3 wide receiver expected to be available via free agency:
In the 2015 offseason, the Dolphins went out and added a number of receivers that made it seem like Matthews would be buried on the depth chart. During training camp, Matthews managed his way into the starting lineup, and performed admirably over the first 10 games of the year before suffering a season-ending injury. Typically, a good receiver will have a good catch rate and low yards-per-catch, or a good yards-per-catch and low catch rate. Matthews is the rare receiver who did both last year. He was the only player in the top 25 in each category among the 119 receivers with the most playing time.
Matthews has the size and speed as an outside receiver that might make him an appealing option for GM Jerry Reese. He also fits the mold of a player with upside, a guy who may not yet have reached his full potential. That is another thing the Giants tend to look for in free agency.
Over The Cap projects Matthews' market value at four years, $17-$18 million. That would actually seem palatable to the Giants, who should be thinking of investing heavily on defense.
Would Matthews be the right guy complement Odell Beckham Jr as the Giants No. 2 wide receiver?