PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles all understand that pro football is a business. That didn’t make the departure of Jordan Matthews any easier for his former teammates.
Matthews shuffled off to Buffalo Friday night after the Eagles traded the receiver to the Bills for Cornerback Ronald Darby. The Eagles newest cornerback is expected to provide a big boost to the secondary.
The team believes the increased depth at receiver will make up for Matthews’ absence, but Coach Doug Pederson admits it won’t be easy moving forward without Matthews.
“I think you’re losing a great person,” said Pederson. “He and I had a good relationship. This business is a difficult one. You got to make some tough choices from time to time. Obviously, we do what’s best for the Philadelphia Eagles. We felt that this was a good opportunity for both sides.”
Matthews will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact in Buffalo. The Bills also traded away receiver Sammy Watkins on Friday, so Matthews could emerge as Buffalo’s top receiving threat.
Matthews’ former teammates believe he will do well in Western New York, but players such as Zach Ertz were clearly affected by the departure of Matthews.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve had a friendship traded out of here,” Ertz said. “Probably none was closer than Jordan. It was tough but, at the end of the day, we know what we get into when we play this game. We’ve got a lot of people making a lot of decisions each and every day. You enjoy the time with your teammates because you never know when it’s going to end.”
The defense will also have to adjust without Matthews. Safety Malcolm Jenkins had plenty of practice battles with Matthews and also spent countless hours working with Matthews after workouts were completed.
“Every time I did one-one-ones it was with Jordan Matthews,” said Jenkins. “If I stayed after and did some releases with receivers, it was with Jordan Matthews. For me now, in my daily preparation, I have to find a new Jordan Matthews.”
This could turn out to be a good trade for both teams. The Bills were happy to get a third-round pick in addition to Matthews, while the Eagles believe that have greatly improved a position which has come under criticism during the off-season.
It didn’t make it any easier for Matthews’ teammates to say goodbye.
“He helped me develop so much,” Ertz said. “Not only as a player, but as a man. I owe him a lot of credit to my development. I’m going to miss him for sure. Buffalo’s lucky to have him.”