Predicting Clay Matthews’ future is actually quite difficult. On one hand I can see why the Packers might want to bring him back. He offers experience, which is particularly important if the team makes a playoff run. And while Matthews isn’t as consistent as he once was, he can still make big plays at key moments.
Perhaps Gutekunst feels Matthews’ best role is at inside linebacker, where he played for one-and-a-half seasons from 2014 to 2015. And if Matthews tests the market and doesn’t land a big contract elsewhere, a return to Green Bay might make sense.
That said, my prediction is that the Packers will move on. Gutekunst has shown he’s not afraid to replace players who have had great careers in Green Bay. He released Jordy Nelson last offseason, and this feels like a similar situation now with Matthews.
Matthews’ career-low 3.5 sacks in 2018 is a concern, and there’s a chance another team will be willing to take a risk with a contract the Packers aren’t willing to match.
I expect the Packers to make a fresh start at edge rusher, using free agency and the draft to add as much talent as possible, while letting Matthews walk in free agency.