The first of the mega deals negotiated by the Green Bay Packers this offseason has been completed.
According to several published reports, the Packers and linebacker Clay Matthews have finalized a five-year deal worth $66 million, leaving only Aaron Rodgers and his eventual record-breaking deal left to accomplish in Green Bay's offseason negotiation queue.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network broke the news early Wednesday afternoon.
#Packers & LB Clay Matthews have reached an agreement in principle on a long-term extension, per sources. He is expected to sign it today.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 17, 2013
Shortly after, Matthews tweeted out a photo of him signing the deal.
Trivial amongst the recent tragic news, but happy to continue my career in Green Bay! twitter.com/ClayMatthews52…
— Clay Matthews III (@ClayMatthews52) April 17, 2013
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the deal is worth $66 million over five years, leaving Matthews with an average of $13.2 million in new money.
— tom silverstein (@TomSilverstein) April 17, 2013
The deal will make Matthews the highest paid linebacker in the NFL, slightly ahead of DeMarcus Ware.
Matthews, 26, has 42.5 sacks—the fifth-most in the NFL since 2009—plus seven forced fumbles and four interceptions in four seasons. He's been named to four Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams since the Packers moved up in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft to take him with the 26th overall pick.
Without an extension, Matthews would have entered 2013 in the last year of his rookie deal.
The five-year extension will add on to Matthews' one remaining year, leaving him under contract with the Packers through the 2018 season.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.