17

April

Packers News: Clay Matthews agrees to contract extension

Packers OLB Clay Matthews

Packers OLB Clay Matthews

Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews has reached an agreement on a contract extension to keep him in Green Bay, according to his Twitter account.

The deal will be a five-year extension worth slightly more than $13 million per season, according to Jay Glazer. Matthews now becomes the highest-paid linebacker in the league, passing DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had previously reported that Matthews would likely get around $13 million per season.

Coming out of the University of Southern California, Matthews was the 26th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, after the Packers used the No. 9 overall pick on B.J. Raji.

In four seasons with the Packers, Matthews has racked up 42.5 sacks in 58 regular-season games. He registered 13 sacks last season.

Matthews is the first domino to fall in what will likely be multiple blockbuster contract extensions for the Packers this offseason. He shares the same agent (David Dunn) as Raji and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Raji is entering the final year of his contract, and Rodgers is expected to sign an extension that will make him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

This was not a matter of if; it was a matter of when.

And now that Matthews has been locked up for the foreseeable future, the team can focus on putting the finishing touches on an extension for Rodgers. It’s been a quiet offseason for the Packers, but that’s due in large part to these upcoming extensions.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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7

April

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

I love Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Even if he was terrible at his job, which thankfully he isn’t, I would still love him.

While a bunch of other teams are out signing free agents that most NFL fans recognize and know, Thompson signs Loyce Means, a cornerback who most recently played in the Canadian Football League. A couple weeks ago, Thompson signed an Italian kicker named Giorgio Tevecchio.

While fans of the 49ers get to embrace Nnamdi Asomugha, Packers fans take to Google to try and figure out who in the hell Loyce Means is.

While Vikings and Dolphins fans get excited about signing Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace, respectively, Packers fans are left trying to figure out who (or what) a Giorgio Tevecchio is.

Sometimes I wonder if Thompson signs these unknown guys just so he can see how crazy it might drive some Packers fans. I know that’s not the case, but it’d be funny if it was.

I think by now a lot of Packers fans get Thompson. Not all of fans, but a lot. They might not agree with his strategies, but they at least get him.

That’s progress, right?

Or am I wrong?

Do the fans who didn’t get Thompson from the beginning still not get him now?

Whether you get him or not, do you find it as amusing as I do when he signs one of these unknown guys while the rest of the league signs marquee names?

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Now a contract extension is apparently close to being done for Clay Matthews. Supposedly, a contract extension was “close” for Aaron Rodgers a few weeks ago. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Blah, blah, blah. Let me know when both players actually sign on the dotted line and the Brinks truck is actually pulling into each player’s driveway to deliver the signing bonus.
  • This is a must-read from Tom Silverstein at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the Packers’ sound management of dead money in the salary cap. I can’t even remember the last time the Packers were in salary cap hell. How many other NFL teams can say the same thing?
  • If you haven’t voted for the Packers’ Final Four, be sure to do so here – voting closes at midnight tonight.
3

April

Report: Packers, Clay Matthews Getting Close to New Deal

Packers Clay Matthews Dominates against the Bears

Could the Packers and Clay Matthews be close to a contract extension?

Reports are trickling out that the Packers and Clay Matthews are close to a new deal that will pay the linebacker more than $13 million a year in new money.

Matthews is 26 and has 42.5 sacks in four seasons with the Packers. He’s been the Packers best all-around defensive player and is often the Packers only legitmate pass-rushing threat.Matthews also has battled hamstring issues and missed four games in 2012.

New contracts for Matthews and Aaron Rodgers are a priority for the Packers this offseason. B.J. Raji is probably also in the mix.

Yes, his hamstrings do cause some concern, but the Packers absolutely need to resign Matthews. He’s the only Packers defender that other teams are forced to game-plan around the last two seasons. Guys with Matthews pass-rushing skills, all-around game and effort don’t come around very often.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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31

March

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

As I was observing the buzz created this week by the U.S. Supreme Court hearings on gay marriage, I couldn’t help but think about former Packers great Reggie White.

Most Packers fan who are old enough probably remember this speech by White in front of the Wisconsin state legislature in March of 1998. White was scheduled to talk about some of his community service work. Instead the Minister of Defense went off about the sins of homosexuality and how being gay is a “decision.”

White also appeared in a few newspaper ads run by Christian organizations wearing his Packers jersey and promoting his opposition to homosexuality.

Can you imagine if White did these things in 2013 instead of 1998? Twitter would spontaneously combust. The comments section at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel would turn into even more of a cesspool than it already is. Collin Cowherd, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless would reach new levels of intolerable. Activist organizations would storm Lambeau Field.

White’s legacy would probably be damaged beyond repair.

Or would it?

I freely admit that I always think of White the former Packer. The image of White burned into my brain is this one, Super-Bowl trophy held high, a sense of accomplishment on his face.

I never think of this image of White, the one of White in a suit and tie, condemning homosexuality and making other disparaging remarks.

Should I think of that latter image? Am I wrong for willfully ignoring the fact that White had some incredibly homophobic views?

I’ve been asking myself those questions this week. I try to justify my justification of ignoring the latter image of White by saying that he has a right to his opinions like any other American. White should be praised for speaking his mind and expressing a view that he knew was probably going to generate a lot of negative publicity.

I also tell myself that there’s nothing wrong with viewing White as a former Packer and nothing more. When actors or musicians spout off with some nonsensical thoughts, I really don’t care. It’s not going to stop me from seeing his/her movie or buying an album. Why should it be different for athletes?

19

September

Matthews, Raji Could Make It Tough To Keep Greg Jennings

Greg JenningsWhen Bob McGinn suggested the Green Bay Packers should trade wide receiver Greg Jennings this year, many fans thought he was nuts despite being one of the most respected voices on the Packers beat.

The thinking of many fans, bloggers and beat writers alike was along the lines of, “receivers like Jennings don’t come around very often.  Ted would be nuts to let him walk.”

It’s a very easy argument to understand. Jennings and Aaron Rodgers share a unique chemistry and that’s not something Thompson can replace with draft pick, even a first round selection.   He’s also one of the most beloved players on the team by the fans so naturally they refuse to consider the idea of Jennings in any other colors than green and yellow.

That said, one must consider the reality of the situation.  Rodgers himself admitted it’s a very real possibility Jennings won’t be back in 2013.  Plus the Packers are faced with signing Jennings, Rodgers, Clay Matthews and BJ Raji in the next few years. Jordy Nelson also will need a new contract thanks to his stellar play.  It’s very possible one of them will be a casualty of simple math as the Packers try to stay a reasonable amount under the salary cap.

Unbelievably, that casualty very well could be Jennings.

Before the season began, many would have selected Raji out of those players to most likely be the one who is not brought back.  It made sense, given Raji’s lackluster performance (along with the rest of the defense) last season.   The Packers were and still are incredibly deep at wide receiver but thanks to how Mike McCarthy likes to run a multiple offense, it seemed like Jennings was a near-lock to be brought back.

Two games into 2012 however, the situation has taken a strange turn.

After getting burned by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, the Packers defense roared to live against Jay Cutler and the now supposedly explosive Chicago Bears offense.  In the 23-10 victory, the Packers sacked Cutler seven times, intercepted him four times and potentially may have sent the Bears into a season long tailspin.

Two of the key players in the defensive resurgence? Matthews and Raji.