Jon Krouner

Matthews Signs Extension With Packers

Created on Apr. 24, 2013 8:06 PM EST

The Green Bay Packers and Clay Matthews have agreed to a contract extension that makes the fifth-year player the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

Matthews tweeted a photo of himself signing the extension, which is for five years and $65 million with $31 million in guaranteed money. The deal is slated to pay him just north of $13 million per season.

In his first four seasons, Matthews emerged as one of the premier pass-rushing linebackers in the league. He's compiled 42.5 sacks, including 13 in 2012 despite missing four games due to a hamstring injury. Matthews also has seven forced fumbles, four interceptions and 22 passes defensed in 58 career games played.

There are just four players - all defensive ends - that have more sacks than Matthews in the past four seasons. That’s not to mention that Matthews helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl in 2011.

In other words, the extension was a no-brainer for Green Bay.

Elite pass rushers are the most coveted assets this side of franchise quarterbacks. Green Bay could’ve elected to allow Matthews to play out his rookie contract, paying him over $3 million this season. Instead, general manager Ted Thompson made the wise decision to ensure that Matthews remains in Green Bay during the prime of his career.

Clay Matthews is the heart and soul of the Packers’ 3-4 defense and his production speaks for itself. Thompson, who drafted Matthews 26th overall in ‘09, cleary did not want to risk letting Matthews become a restricted free agent at the end of next season.

Matthews is currently the highest-paid player on the Packers’ roster, but that won’t last long. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are working on an extension that could make him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

The two contract extensions are a sure sign that the Packers will be Super Bowl contenders in the foreseeable future.

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