Clay Matthews, Broncos Unable to Agree on Contract; LB 'Open' to Playing in 2020

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2020

Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Denver Broncos reached out to free-agent linebacker Clay Matthews as a potential replacement for Von Miller, who suffered an ankle injury Tuesday, but were unable to come to a contract agreement with the six-time Pro Bowl selection.

Ryan Williams, Matthews' agent, confirmed the talks to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Broncos were told the linebacker didn't plan to play in 2020:

Matthews was released by the Los Angeles Rams in March after one season with the team. He enjoyed a productive 2019 campaign, recording eight sacks in 13 appearances.

The 34-year-old USC product had previously established himself as one of the NFL's top edge-rushers across a decade with the Green Bay Packers. His 83.5 sacks from 2009 through 2018 ranked seventh in the league over that span, per Pro Football Reference.

He also recorded 482 total tackles, 41 passes defended, 15 forced fumbles, six interceptions and three touchdowns in 143 regular-season games for the Packers. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2010 and helped the team win Super Bowl XLV.

In April, Matthews said on the Pat McAfee Show (via Shawn Spencer of the Pewter Plank) he'd be interested in joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to chase another title.

"It's crossed my mind," he said.

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Meanwhile, the Broncos are scrambling to find some pass-rushing depth with Miller's status for the 2020 season uncertain ahead of Week 1.

The eight-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl 50 MVP was once again expected to serve as a cornerstone after tallying 106 sacks, including eight last year, in 135 games across nine years.

Denver is set to kick off the regular season Monday night when it welcomes the Tennessee Titans to Empower Field at Mile High for a nationally televised clash.