The Green Bay Packers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews are nearing agreement on a long-term extension that will average over $13 million per year in "new money", ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Matthews, who turns 27 this offseason, is scheduled to earn $3.77 million in cash compensation ($3.73 million base salary, $40,000 workout bonus) in 2013, the final season of his rookie contract.
In addition to working on an extension for Matthews, the Packers are nearing a long-term extension with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with the two sides reportedly being $2 million per season apart. According to Schefter, the agent for Matthews and Rodgers — David Dunn — would like new contracts in place by the start of the Packers' offseason workout program, which begins on April 15.
According to a source with knowledge of where each teams stands against the cap, the Packers have just under $17.8 million in cap space in 2013, which should be more than enough to get team-friendly, long-term deals done with both Rodgers and Matthews.
Matthews was selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and has posted 42.5 sacks with seven forced fumbles, four interceptions and 22 passes defensed in 58 career games. The four-time Pro Bowler also has 7.5 sacks in eight career post-season games and is arguably coming off his most productive season in the NFL. Despite missing four games due to an injury, Matthews posted 13 sacks in 12 games and has clearly established himself as one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL.
As one of the league's elite pass-rushers, Matthews is understandably targeting the $13 million per year contract average that Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware received midway through the 2009 season, his fifth in the NFL. Matthews is entering his fifth season in the NFL in 2013. If beating the Ware contract is the goal, Matthews will also be seeking over $45 million in "new money" over the first three seasons of the deal along with over $40 million in guaranteed money.