Packers make Clay Matthews the highest paid linebacker
With Matthews’ deal done, the Packers now 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. ETC. NASCAR punishes Penske Racing NASCAR came down hard with far-reaching penalties against Penske Racing on Wednesday, with six-race suspensions for seven crew members of defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano along with $200,000 in fines for bringing unapproved parts to Texas Motor Speedway for last weekend’s race. Each driver and car owner was docked 25 championship points, dropping Keselowski from second to fourth in the Cup standings and Logano from ninth 14th. Along with the steep fines, Keselowski crew chief Paul Wolfe and Logano crew chief Todd Gordon were suspended for the next six championship points races and placed on probation for the rest of the calendar year. Also suspended and put on probation were Travis Geisler, who serves as team manager for both cars, and the individual car chiefs and team engineers for the two cars. NASCAR also announced penalties for Martin Truex Jr. and Ron Hornaday Jr., but the Penske suspensions were by far the biggest news of the day.
Packers lock up Matthews with new contract
Defensive tackle B.J. Raji may also get a long-term offer. Two weeks after reports began circling the Packers were nearing an agreement with the four-time Pro Bowl player, Matthews tweeted a photo of himself signing his new five-year extension with the team on Wednesday afternoon. “Trivial amongst the recent tragic news, but happy to continue my career in Green Bay!” Matthews wrote. The Packers have been working the past few weeks on extensions for both Matthews and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. There was some thought the two deals could get done at simultaneously given both players are represented by David Dunn. However, a league source recently told Press-Gazette Media an agreement with Matthews appeared to be further along than Rodgers, whose camp continues to negotiate a deal that likely will make him the highest-paid player in NFL history. The only player in team history to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first four NFL seasons, Matthews was entering the final season of the five-year rookie contract he signed with the Packers when they selected him 26th overall in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Matthews ranks fifth in team history (since 1982) with the 42 1/2 career sacks and No. 2 in franchise postseason annals with 7 1/2 career sacks.
Midweek Movie: Clay Matthews AKA The Claymaker
“I know we (the Packers) catch a little heat sometimes that we like to build through the draft and develop our players, and we’ve done a great job of that,” Matthews said when asked about keeping the team together. “Our free agents are the ones who were up on their contracts. “It’s no different than Aaron, myself or whoever’s up next. I’ll leave that to them, but for the most part we’ve had some success here over the last few years in maintaining players and I don’t see it to be any different.” The Packers had $17.45 million worth of salary cap space going into the day. Matthews, who was due $3.73 million this year, counted $4.91 million against the cap before his new deal was signed, so the team was able to use that space by moving money around. Any money that is guaranteed or in the form of a signing bonus is prorated over the six years for salary cap purposes, lessening its impact right away. It won’t be clear how much Matthews counts against the salary cap until full details of the contract become available. NFL Network reported that Matthews would make $28 million in the next calendar year, which includes the start of the 2014 football year when he’s expected to receive a large roster bonus or escalator. ESPN reported that Matthews would make $23 million this season but did not say how much would be prorated over the length of the deal. Matthews, a first-round pick from USC in 2009, will be 32 when the deal expires, so there’s no reason to believe he has topped out. In fact, he said that despite having 42 sacks in four years and showing to be as good defending the run as rushing the passer, he can improve a lot.
Clay Matthews Deal Is Good Business for Green Bay Packers
There are two things that cost more than anything in the NFL :quarterbacks and pass-rushers. You need to have both to win championships, and if you get one as good as Matthews, you have to keep him, no matter what the cost. Like any general manager, Thompson has made some good decisions and some bad ones. The decision to trade up and draft Matthews with the 26th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft was one of his finest (just behind taking a free-falling quarterback from Cal back in 2005), and so was signing him to a contract extension. Regardless of what people want to say about the Packers defenseand trust me, a lot has been said and not much of it good this offseasonas long as Matthews is on it, the potential to wreak havoc and turn it into a championship-caliber defense exists. As important as Aaron Rodgers is to Green Bay offensively, Matthews is equally important to the defense. Last season in the four games he missed, the defense allowed 5.5 yards per carry. When he returned, that average dipped back down to 3.38 yards per carry. Coincidence?
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