Matthews has had his ups-and-downs, but has been a pretty durable, effective starting left tackle, and those are not easy to come by. Exercising the team option just makes sense for Atlanta, as he’ll be relatively cheap for one more season. His contract will now be up after the 2018 season, and he’ll likely be heading for one in a string of lucrative contract extensions on this star-studded team.
Having your bookend, effective starting tackles under contract for the next two seasons is a big deal for any team, and especially for a high-powered offense like Atlanta’s. I do think that Matthews is capable of even better play than we have seen from him to this point, but he’s an obviously above average option.
That means the Falcons have Matthews, Ryan Schraeder, Andy Levitre and Alex Mack established as starters, with the only looming trouble spot coming at right guard. We’re glad Matthews is hanging around.