GREEN BAY – Now that the ink is dry on Clay Matthews’ five-year, $66 million contract extension, the Green Bay Packers can turn their attention to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is also in line for a lucrative contract extension.
Rodgers’ deal is expected to make him the highest-paid player in the league, and considering that agent David Dunn represents both Matthews and Rodgers – as well as defensive tackle B.J. Raji – it would seem to be only a matter of time that Rodgers’ deal is done.
At least, that’s the way Matthews figures it.
“Hopefully that’s the next order of business,” Matthews said during a press conference inside the Packers’ locker room Wednesday afternoon, after his new deal was announced. “Being good friends with him, represented by the same agent, who knows, hopefully that’s sooner than later.”
Unlike Matthews, who was entering the final year of his contract in 2013, Rodgers is actually under contract for two more seasons, through the 2014 campaign. Nevertheless, he’s expected to have a new deal before the season starts on Sept. 8, and recent reports have said that the two sides are “close.” How close is a matter of conjecture.
Nonetheless, once Rodgers’ deal is done, the Packers will have tied up significant money in their two brightest stars – prompting some to worry that general manager Ted Thompson’s hands will be tied in terms of personnel moves because of salary-cap issues. That’s unlikely, given that the deals figure to be structured in a way to keep the Packers’ pay-as-you-go approach going, but with the team’s draft-and-develop philosophy adding young, inexpensive talent ever year, Thompson and his scouting staff must continue to draft effectively to make it work.
For his part, Matthews said he wasn’t worried about his deal and Rodgers’ deal hurting the team’s chances at competing for the Super Bowl title every year.
“One thing this organization does well -- I know we catch a little heat sometimes -- (is) that we like to build through the draft and develop our players. And we’ve done a great job of that,” Matthews said. “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 keep players and I don’t see it to be any different.”
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