General manager Jon Robinson confirmed Thursday that Matthews reached out to team brass earlier in the week requesting a trade or release. The GM said he explored trading the disgruntled receiver, but no market materialized.
"I think his role and his use in the offense," Robinson said when asked why Matthews asked to move on. "I think he spoke to that last week when you guys asked him. Not to put words in his mouth, but he just reached out to me Monday and asked to be released or traded. We explored the trade option with several teams, and I would say that part just never really manifested itself to get a deal in."
Since the ink dried on the deal, however, Matthews hasn't liked how he's been used in new coordinator Matt LaFleur's offense. The veteran wide receiver has three receptions for 11 yards through the first three games of the season. Matthews participated in just 92 snaps through three weeks, 51 percent of the Titans' offensive plays, per Next Gen Stats, fewer than younger wideouts Tajae Sharpe (58 percent) and No. 1 target Corey Davis (85 percent).
The lack of production comes after Matthews led the Titans in receiving yards each of the past two seasons. In 2017, Matthews earned 53 receptions for 795 yards with four touchdowns; he compiled 65 catches for 945 yards with nine TDs in 2016.
Robinson said he thought Matthews could still play a role in the Titans offense, which has struggled to move the ball through the air while Marcus Mariota deals with lingering numbness in his elbow. The receiver, however, decided a change of scenery would be best for all parties.
Still just 28 years old, the 6-foot receiver could latch on with a receiver-needy team willing to take a flier on consistent talent.
Robinson said he doesn't plan to add a receiver immediately but noted that could change down the line.
With Matthew's exit, Davis is the clear No. 1 target in Tennessee, with Sharpe and Taywan Taylor rounding out the top of the depth chart.
The loss of Matthews and prolific tight end Delanie Walker (dislocated ankle), puts the onus on the younger pass-catchers to step up for Tennessee.
"Obviously we can't look back, we've got to get rolling with the guys that are in this locker room," Sharpe said Thursday, via Jim Wyatt of the team's official website. "So that just gives an opportunity for more guys to step on the field and make plays for us."