Veteran wideout Rishard Matthews, who led the Tennessee Titans’ WR corps in both catches and yards in each of the last two seasons, has been nearly invisible this year. He had missed some preseason time recovering from knee surgery, but he says he’s “100 percent healthy,” and it’s not like he’s been riding the bench. Despite lining up on 50 percent of Tennessee’s snaps, they’re just not targeting him. So he’s had enough.
Matthews asked for and received his release from the Titans, though the paperwork has yet to be finalized. He wasn’t at practice on Wednesday for what coach Mike Vrabel described as “personal reasons.” He was, according to his instagram, on the couch.
Matthews explained in a series of text messages to A to Z Sports Nashville:
“Everything is good. Just wasn’t happy with what was going on barely getting any playing time. It was time to move on.”
“I’ve been the leading receiver for two years. Then all of a sudden I’m barely playing and not even starting. Using my injury as the scapegoat. Look at number of snaps and targets.”
Matthews has lined up for 95 snaps, which totals 50 percent of the team’s and has been steady across the first three games. That’s third on the Titans, behind Corey Davis, who has been the unquestioned No. 1 receiver, and Tajae Sharpe, who unexpectedly won the No. 2 job out of camp but has gradually lost snaps to the on-the-rise Taywan Taylor.
But Matthews has only been targeted six times, hauling in three catches for a total of 11 yards. His targets put him in a three-way tie for fifth among Titans; his catches, sixth-most on the team; his receiving yards put him ninth on the list. Tennessee’s chaos at quarterback definitely hasn’t helped, but the loss of TE Delanie Walker for the season hasn’t raised Matthews’s profile either.
During training camp, Matthews, who turns 29 next month, fired his agent and negotiated for himself a one-year contract extension in the form of a team option for 2019, with no guaranteed money. We’ll have to wait to see the final terms of his release, but he could provide a relatively cheap pickup for teams in need of receiver depth. And this adds the 2-1 Titans to the list of teams sure to be mentioned in connection with Dez Bryant.