Rishard Matthews said Friday he had the Tennessee Titans on his radar at the outset of free agency.
The Titans also had a receiver like Matthews on their radar for free agent shopping this off-season.
While Matthews’ overall numbers don’t jump off the page from 2015 – he had 43 receptions for 662 yards and four touchdowns – his reliability and team-first approach is continuing with the theme of the Titans’ new regime.
Matthews was regarded by Pro Football Focus as one of NFL’s top receivers in terms of catching footballs with few drops a year ago, and said he believes he can play whatever role the Titans will ask of him in their receiving corps.
“I feel like I can do it all. If I need to go deep and catch a ball, I can. I feel like I can go across the middle and make the tough catches. I can catch the short passes. Overall, I’m just a tough player that’s here to compete,” Matthews said Friday. “If I need to go out there and block, I will. If I need to go out there and make the tough catch over the middle while taking a hit, I’ll do that.”
Speed isn’t necessarily Matthews’ forte, but he does have the ability to get open. That has to be a welcome sight for the Titans, whose wide receivers combined for the fewest receptions in the league last year.
“I feel like you’ve still got to know how to run routes and know the defender you’re going against to get open. I think my route-running ability has improved over the years and that’s a big part of being able to get open,” Matthews said.
Matthews was also courted by the New England Patriots in free agency, but agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Titans on Wednesday night. He said the Titans were his top priority from the outset, a team that he and his agent Stephen Caric had sort of targeted as a possible landing spot.
“Just looking at the overall opportunity, I feel like this organization is going in the right direction and I just want to be part of it,” Matthews said. “Me and my agent’s eyes have always been set here in Tennessee.”
To further elaborate on his skill set, Matthews said he wants his new quarterback Marcus Mariota to know that he will be a reliable receiver for him, just as he was for his former QB in Miami, Ryan Tannehill a year ago.
“I feel like if you call Ryan and ask him about my reliability, he’ll say the same thing. I knew he could rely on me and throw the ball into my area, and 90 percent of the time or more I’ll catch it,” Matthews said.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Matthews would most likely be at the Z receiver spot to begin with, but could also see some time in the slot as well.