Jordan Matthews on Contract Situation: Money ‘not What Drives Me'

Jordan Matthews was incredulous. When he heard people in Philly speculating that his absence from OTAs might be more related to his contract situation than his lingering knee injuries, he couldn't believe it.

"Man, I hope you guys know me by now," Matthews said. "That's not what really motivates me, that's not what drives me. 

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"I grew up, my parents were affluent. I never needed anything. So when I play football, I play football for respect. That's all I play for. It was never a sense of, 'I gotta get to the league to get money to get my mom a house.' I respect anybody who has to do that, but I've never had to do that. 

"So I never really played for money. I went across the middle because I wanted to make sure the guy across from me respected me. That's not going to change. If anything, it just grows the older I get and the better competition I see. I'm not even thinking about that in the least."

You can't be any clearer than that.

Matthews, whose 225 receptions are 10th-most in NFL history by a receiver in his first three seasons, is entering the final year of the four-year, $4.95 million contract he signed when the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft.

It's a tricky situation because the Eagles are in some serious cap trouble for 2018, and if they want to have any chance of re-signing Alshon Jeffery they may not be able to sign Matthews, who has been solid if not spectacular as a pro.

But Matthews, who would be in line for a sizable deal if he has another solid year, said the contract situation isn't on his mind going into what could well be his final season with the Eagles.

"I don't really get into that much, honestly," he said. "I think things change by the year, depending on what the team's salary cap looks like. 

"There's so many things that go into it. I basically say, if you go out there and make plays, you get paid. You make plays, you'll see that happen. So I don't really try to worry about all the other stuff. 

"My biggest thing is I'm going to come out here and help the team win. If I do that, I feel like that's going to set me up in the best position to be here long term."

Although Matthews was here with Jeremy Maclin as a rookie, this is the most talented group of wide receivers he's been a part of as a pro.

Matthews has 225 catches the last three years and the next-most by an Eagles receiver during that span is Maclin's 85, all in 2014.

This wide receiver unit, much-maligned last year, should be dramatically improved this year with veterans Jeffery and Torrey Smith, rookies Mack Hollins and possibly Shelton Gibson and - who knows - maybe even a rejuvenated Nelson Agholor.

"I see a lot of hungry guys," Matthews said. "(Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland) always says hungry dogs run faster. I feel like Torrey and Alshon have been able to come here with chips on their shoulder. 

"I think Nelson has done extremely well. I think there's a huge chip on his shoulder, and he wants to go out there and prove what he can do. I think he's done nothing but excel since he's come back this season.

"I think just from top to bottom, everybody wants to go out there and win games. I can tell everybody is extremely focused. I'm just excited about what everybody's mindset is at this point. I don't like to get into this and that, don't like to make promises. We just gotta come out here and get to work."

Only 13 players are on the roster who have played in a playoff game in an Eagles uniform.

Only two - Jon Dorenbos and Brent Celek - have won a playoff game as Eagles.

"Make no bones about it, we want to win now," Matthews said. "So it's a big year for all of us, man. And so, across the board, everybody's looking at each other and saying, 'Hey, we've gotta come in here and we go win games.' 

"I know everybody's thinking the same thing. I know Carson (Wentz) is, I know Alshon is, I know (Jason Peters) is, I know (Darren) Sproles is, I know LaGarrette (Blount) is."

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