Clay Matthews III
Clay Matthews III is going to be on every list we can muster until he retires and then even a few years beyond that. Matthews is still a good football player, having eight sacks at age 33 for the Los Angeles Rams, but beyond that, he’s Cleveland royalty. While you couldn’t fault the Browns for going with Alex Mack in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, everyone wanted the Browns to take Matthews that year instead.
The team needed him then, and they need him still 11 years later. The Browns could’ve taken Matthews and gotten Max Unger in the second round instead of wasting a pick on Brian Robiskie. Matthews became an All-Pro in Green Bay and no doubt would’ve seen the same success in Cleveland. So now that the team is desperate for help at linebacker because again, look at who they just signed, why are they not going after Matthews?
He’s older than Malcolm Smith, yes, but he’s also better than Smith. Not just historically, today, Matthews is better than Smith at any point in Smith’s career. He’s also more durable than Smith and a better playmaker than Smith. B.J. Goodson or Sione Takitaki can play in the middle if that’s the worry. After all, Smith’s an OLB himself. He’s an OLB who isn’t good against the pass and isn’t known for his pass-rushing skills.
The more that’s written about Smith and Matthews the angrier this selection is becoming. Unless Matthews laughed the Browns off the phonecall, there was no reason to bring in Smith and not Matthews for a workout. Matthews is the better player in every facet of the game. Even at 34.