Former USC Trojan and southern California native Clay Matthews will be returning to his hometown after signing a two-year deal worth up to $16.7 million with the Los Angeles Rams. In his introductory press conference, Matthews, who has played with the Green Bay Packers since being drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft, said that he knew he wanted to play with the Rams after it was clear that a deal with the Packers was not going to be reached. The six-time pro bowl linebacker will call the Coliseum home once again for the first time since beating Notre Dame 38-3 in November of 2008.
The Los Angeles Rams announced the free agent signing via their Twitter page.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) March 20, 2019
The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on the details of Matthews new deal.
Two-year deal for LB Clay Matthews with the #Rams worth a max of $16.75 million, source says. He had more lucrative offers on the table but he just welcomed his third child and really wanted to play close to home. Plus, a shot at another ring doesn’t hurt.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 20, 2019
Matthews made the reasons for his desire to play in Los Angeles very clear in his introductory press conference. When asked why he wanted to play in LA, Matthews stated:
“It made sense you know. We’re (Matthews and his wife) building a house out here. I’ve got three kids now, I think my wife was more excited than I was to sign with the Rams”
In his 10 years with the Packers, Matthews has recorded 83.5 sacks, 121 tackles for loss, 189 hits on a quarterback, made 6 pro bowls, an all-pro team and won the 2011 Super Bowl. In recent years, Matthews production has been inconsistent and despite being the anchor and leader of the Packers defense, the aging linebacker hasn’t made the pro bowl since 2015.
When questioned on how he feels to be with Los Angeles, Matthews said it feels great to have the opportunity to finish his career where it started. He added:
“I’ve been coming back here every offseason for the past 10 years and consider Los Angeles home”
The Rams defense ranked 19th in defensive DVOA last season and while not hindering team success much throughout the regular season it wasn’t good enough to close out the New England Patriots in the low scoring, defense dominate Super Bowl. The Rams are hoping that the return “home” will get Matthews back to pro bowl form and, with the signing of safety Eric Weddle, improve the defense enough to close out their opponent when the adage of defenses winning championships makes an appearance once again.