Here’s why the Detroit Lions should sign Clay Matthews

Clay Matthews, Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Clay Matthews, Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions should give Clay Matthews a shot in the Motor City

Last season, the Detroit Lions struggled on all aspects of defense. While the pass defense was notably bad as they allowed the most passing yards of any team, the run stoppage unit wasn’t anything to gloat about either. They also struggled to get to the quarterback as they tied for the second least amount of sacks.

The front office did lots to improve the defense by bringing in multiple defensive players and drafting key players on the defensive side of the ball that could very well make an impact in year one. The defense can always be improved though and it wouldn’t hurt to add.

When thinking of available defensive free agents, names like Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen come to mind but there’s one player that has barely been talked about that the Lions should pursue. That player is linebacker Clay Matthews.

Matthews spent last season with the Los Angeles Rams but was recently released as his cap hit of close to $6 million was deemed too much for the cash strapped team. He did have a solid season in LA though posting 33 tackles (23 solo) with eight sacks, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles.

Clay Matthews may be a familiar name among Lions fans as he was a key player on the division rival Green Bay Packers defensive unit from 2009-2018. In those 10 seasons spent with the Packers, he appeared in 137 games where he recorded 482 tackles (356 solo), deflected 41 passes, forced 15 fumbles recovering five of them while sacking the quarterback 83.5 times.

Matthews would really help the Lions as he is a versatile linebacker who puts pressure on the quarterback, something the Lions have struggled to do in past years. In each season he played with the exception of 2011, he’s gotten more sacks than passes deflected.

While he plays a little farther back from the line, he plays like he’s a defensive lineman as he applies pressure on the quarterback and is a great run stopper. The 6-foot-3, 255 pound Matthews is an athletic linebacker that can tackle almost any wideout or running back without issue. This is the type of player that the Lions need.

As you would find Matthews on the outside of the field, he can usurp linebacker Reggie Ragland from the starting lineup who only recorded 30 tackles (23 solo), 2.0 sacks and one fumble recovered last season for the Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs. Matthews would be an upgrade over Ragland and would provide the Lions with a strong linebacker trio of Matthews, Jarrad Davis and Jamie Collins Sr.

As the Rams wouldn’t pay Matthews $6 million, the Lions should be able to get the six-time Pro Bowler for a fairly reasonable price of something like $4 million. If he was worth $6 million, the Rams would have kept him. They could possibly entice him to sign in Motor City by making his deal almost fully guaranteed which the Lions have the financial flexibility to do.

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General Manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia should have a sit down with Matthews and try to get his name from pen to paper to play for the Lions. He would be a great fit in Detroit.