Clay Matthews signs extension, becomes highest-paid linebacker

Clay Matthews, Packers agree on long-term extension

Clay Matthews and his trademark flowing hair will be in Green Bay for the long haul. (AP Photo) Matthews shared a photo of the deal being signed deal on Twitter (@ClayMatthews52). “Trivial amongst the recent tragic news, but happy to continue my career in Green Bay!” Matthews tweeted. “It feels good,” Matthews said Wednesday during a news conference. “It’s funny, because not a whole lot has changed. I’m happy about it but for me, it’s nice, it’s very humbling and it’s a blessing, but it’s business as usual for me. I’m glad that they have put their trust in me and belief in me in awarding me this, but at the same time you’re going to get the same type of unwavering perseverance on the field and dedication that I’m going to bring day in and day out. I feel good but not much has changed.” Matthews, who turns just 27 in May, was worthy of being locked up for a lucrative reward. In just four seasons after being drafted 26th overall by the Packers in 2009, he has wreaked havoc as an edge playmaker in their 3-4 scheme, with 43 sacks, 203 total tackles and four interceptions in 58 career games. The 2013 season was scheduled to be the last under Matthews’ original five-year, $9.9 million deal.

Clay Matthews cap details: Rise over time

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Midweek Movie: Clay Matthews AKA The Claymaker

I’m happy about it but for me, it’s nice, it’s very humbling and it’s a blessing, but it’s business as usual for me. I’m glad that they have put their trust in me and belief in me in awarding me this, but at the same time you’re going to get the same type of unwavering perseverance on the field and dedication that I’m going to bring day in and day out. I feel good but not much has changed. Matthews posted a picture of himself on Twitter signing the deal, saying, “Trivial amongst the recent tragic news, but happy to continue my career in Green Bay!” The Packers did not announce terms of the extension, reported to be for five years, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the deal is worth $66 million. That would put Matthews on par with Dallas outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware , whose contract also averages $13 million per year. “Clay has been a productive member of our team and we are pleased to be able to come to an agreement that will extend his Packers career,” general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement. With Matthews’ deal done, the Packers can turn all of their attention to Rodgers, whose extension is expected to make him the highest-paid player in the league. Agent David Dunn represents Matthews and Rodgers, as well as defensive tackle B.J. Raji. “Hopefully, that’s the next order of business,” Matthews said about Rodgers’ extension.

Matthews The cap hit reaches its height in 2017, when the deal will count $15.2 million in cap dollars, before dropping a bit in 2018 when the five-year limit on pro-ration ends. Here are the annual cap hits: 2013: $6.71 million 2017: $15.2 million 2018: $11.4 million Some of you are already asking if the Packers will have to renegotiate the contract before it ends because of the increasing cap numbers. It’s a fair question considering the team will, at some point, have a much bigger annual cap consideration for quarterback Aaron Rodgers . The short answer is not necessarily. Additional television money will eventually raise the cap spending limit, and it won’t be untenable for one of the top players on a roster to consume $15 million in cap space. You can’t have eight players with $15 million-plus cap hits, but in 2017 you should be able to have a few. And if Matthews continues on his current path, the Packers will be happy to make him one of them. In context, consider that the cap hits for Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen — like Matthews an elite pass-rusher — have ranged from $8 million in 2008 to $17.1 million for 2013. Note: For those of you who keep track of such things, Matthews’ deal technically guarantees $20.5 million of the total value in the form of a signing bonus. Matthews will be able to earn a roster bonus of $5 million in 2014 provided he is on the roster on the third day of the NFL’s league year.

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