With only about 24 hours on the job for the Buffalo Bills, one of the newest acquisitions for the team will be missing some time to start his tenure with the franchise. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews injured his sternum on Sunday afternoon, and will not be on the practice field for Monday at least.
According to the team, Matthews has a chip fracture in his sternum and is considered "week-to-week" at this point in time. When speaking to WGR Sports Radio 550 on Monday morning, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said that the injury happened within the first 15 minutes of Matthews' first practice with the team, felt as though that "something wasn't right." He also said the team didn't find out about the extent of the injury until late Sunday night.
Matthews was just acquired by the Bills on Friday along with a third-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby. Matthews was pegged to potentially replace starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins, after the latter was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams in another trade on Friday.
No further timetable was given for Matthews' potential availability.
Joe B's Take
This is a huge blow to the Bills in the short-term quest to fill the void of the recently dealt Sammy Watkins in a significant way. Matthews was supposed to be the player that the Bills would plug into the lineup in 2017, but that is already off to a rocky start for Buffalo.
While there is no way of knowing what "week-to-week" means, considering most their other injuries have been described as "day-to-day," that likely casts some doubt on the wide receiver's availability on the preseason, and in a worst-case scenario, potentially into the regular season -- but that's pure speculation at this point.
So, in a worst-case scenario, what does this mean for the Bills as they're currently constructed?
Well, for free agent acquisition Andre Holmes, this could be potentially huge for him to secure a spot on the 53-man roster. In the short time that Matthews was on the practice field with the first-team, it was not Anquan Boldin or Zay Jones coming off the field on three wide receiver sets -- it was Holmes.
And considering the compensatory pick formula that would potentially yield the Bills an additional third-round pick, the team -- at the very least -- had been considering the possibility.
Now, if Matthews is unable to participate in preseason and into the start of the regular season (again, as a worst-case scenario), this would mean Holmes now has a great shot to make it on to the 53-man roster to start 2017.
Outside of Holmes, the injury stands to benefit rookie Zay Jones from a time on the field perspective. Depending on how you look at it, that's either a great thing for the rookie, or the potential to put too much on him too early in his career. It really all depends on how the player handles the responsibilities and rigors of their first year in the NFL.
So, this is a blow to the Bills if Matthews has to miss significant time -- and considering that Matthews was a downgrade from Watkins as the top wideout on the team to begin with, this really is an uncomfortable development for a team that just sent away their top target to Los Angeles.
We'll see how it plays out, but from the outset, it doesn't sound promising at the moment.