The Green Bay Packers made Clay Matthews the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL on Wednesday with a blockbuster new contract that will pay him $66 million over five seasons, an annual average of $13.2 million, just a shade more than DeMarcus Ware is pulling down from the Dallas Cowboys.
It is the largest contract in Green Bay history, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Until, you know, Aaron Rodgers gets the whopper of a contract that is coming his way.
"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," Matthews said, according to the report. "I feel good, but not much has changed."
When the ink dries on Rodgers’ new contract, the club will have a tremendous amount of future salary cap space locked up in two players. It can be dicey because giving two players that much of the salary cap pie can make roster flexibility a delicate issue.
“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. "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."
A deal for Rodgers should not be too far off.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune
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