Is There a Place on the Roster for Clay Matthews in 2019?

David Michalski breaks down whether or not Clay Matthews should have a chance to finish out his career in Green Bay.  

After the Packers 34-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Packers fans are pumped and have their sights set on running the table again.  At 5-7-1 this roller coaster of emotions has been a common theme for each and every week of the season.  

I mention all of this goodwill and galvanization that is sure to be in the air of Green Bay Wisconsin for the next few days to clarify that the question that I am about to pose is not based on the outcome of the Packers first dominant performance in quite some time, but rather, has been a question that has been stirring inside of me for much of the season.  

The question that I have constantly gone back and forth with internally, is whether or not there is a place for Clay Matthews on the 2019 Green Bay Packers.  Believe me guys, I do recognize that Clay’s play and durability has been the topic of much discussion over the past few years which have caused many to believe that he is playing his final three games as a Packer.  

At this point in his career, the former all-pro, and six-time pro bowl version of Clay Matthews must be considered to be all but obsolete. The years of double digit sacks and forcing multiple turnovers are over, so it must be a foregone conclusion that Clay will be playing for another team in 2019, right? I say not so fast.

After watching Clay’s play this season I am convinced that there is still a role for him on this team moving forward, albeit not as a primary pass rusher that makes over $11 million but as a multi-dimensional player who can also still be an effective situational pass rusher when called upon.

Despite having a career low of just 3.5 sacks, Clay has had a knack of disrupting the quarterback throughout the season.  However, his numbers and player grades do not reflect the true impact that he's had in helping the Packers pass rush be among the NFL’s best at generating pressures on opposing quarterbacks throughout the season.

Throughout the 2018 season, he has been both the victim and poster child of the NFL’s atrocious officiating which curtailed much of his early season production.  The fact of the matter is that Clay Matthews has shown that he can still get to the quarterback, cause pressure, and be a nuisance to the opposing quarterbacks timing.  

Clay has proven that there is still gas in his tank and that he is still a serviceable linebacker in this league. He has proven that when he is put in pass rushing situations, that he can still get to the quarterback.  Clay has also shown that he can play multiple different positions and fill many different responsibilities in Mike Pettine’s defensive scheme.  

Clay’s ability to be trusted with key responsibilities and provide continuity for the Packers defense could cause the team to want to bring him back to provide them with a multi dimensional defensive player as well as an influence both on and off the field for any potential edge rushers that will be drafted in the early rounds of this year’s NFL Draft. 

The only thing that Clay Matthews should be seeing his last of in Green Bay, is $10+ million yearly checks.  I would be interested in bringing Clay back on a 2 year deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of about 8-10 million dollars. 

The way that this situation could get interesting in the offseason is if Clay still thinks that he's an 8-12 million dollar a year player and wants to be paid as such. My guess is that cooler heads will prevail and the Packers and Clay Matthews will reach an agreement on a short-term contract that will allow him to finish up his career in Green Bay.  

Clay has made it clear that his desire is to finish out his career in Green Bay where his family and young children are thriving within the community.  Hopefully, Clay and the Packers can indeed reach some kind of compromise on a new, team friendly contract that will allow him to finish up his career in Green Bay and be a life long Packer.   

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (52)

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bodei1newbie1's picture

December 10, 2018 at 01:28 pm

sure bring him back on the greenbay packer discount
(what about 7-10 million that sounds about right) i have nothing against matthews but injuries and age has slow him down don' t you think ?

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KenEllis's picture

December 10, 2018 at 01:37 pm

$10,000,000 for a 33 year old who has not gotten 8 sacks as an edge rusher since 2012?

Ted?

Is that you Ted?

Why not throw $10,000,000 more to Cobb while you're at it.

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GBPDAN1's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:00 pm

I'd take Clay back at 5m a year on a 2 year deal and then play him at inside linebacker. We need to obtain 2 starting OLBs for next year. All of our OLBs currently are back up grade.

We also need O-linemen and a pro Bowl safety (amongst other players). After watching the Bears last night, we will be in a dogfight for the division for the next few years, so BGs player acquisitions will determine our fate.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 10, 2018 at 04:18 pm

As soon as I read the headline I thought, “Yes, there is a place for him at ILB at a reduced rate,” so it appears we’re on the same page here, amigo.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 10, 2018 at 01:28 pm

To me he has more like 6.5 sacks since the refs mood swing officiating took several away from him. I'd like to see the Packers set a price for Matthews and consider bringing him back if Pettine is onboard.

Nick Perry on the other hand, no thanks. Time to move on.

Oh, and call Reggie McKinnzie and see if he'll come back to lead College scouting. The Packers miss his excellent work.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 11, 2018 at 06:18 am

Or put McKenzie in charge of pro scouting. With up to $60 mil in cap space after paring away some bad contracts and a GM that will dabble in FA, pro scouting is no longer just about waiver wire pickups and practice squad additions.

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TarynsEyes's picture

December 10, 2018 at 01:31 pm

His role as like the money must be limited and equal based on expected play going forward.

Matthews making a play or looking better over the coming last couple games cannot be used as the total product coming next season. We did this with Perry and even when healthy, Perry has failed to meet expected play for his pay.

Bring Matthews back for what makes him understand he needs the Packers and NOT the Packers needing him.

Matthews is more part of the two steps back after the one step forward. His veteran status will likely be a point made for retention but him never really being a leader should disqualify that as fast as it's mentioned.

He is what he is now and that won't get better. Like Toby Keith sung, " I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was " may be fine to use as keeping him, but the problem is he isn't as good once as he ever was....just mediocre.

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Lare's picture

December 10, 2018 at 01:48 pm

I tried to zero in on Matthews during several games and he was almost non-existent. He's a one-trick pony that offenses have figured out, and many times his tendency to over-pursue is taken advantage of as running backs just wait for him to take himself out of the play.

I'd be Ok with brining him back, but I don't know that he's worth much over an incentive based $3-4 million per year contract.

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cuervo's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:19 pm

Agreed, The top end I'd be willing to pay would be 3 mio/year and even that would take a gulp or two.

Part time pass rushers in their 30's aren't getting paid 5+ mio a year. You don't pay players for what they've done in the past, and if Matthews thinks he's worth 5 mio or more, let him walk.

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nostradanus's picture

December 10, 2018 at 01:55 pm

It all depends on Clay and the FA Market

It would be great if Mathews could finish up his career in Green Bay as a situational Pass Rusher, multi-dimensional defensive piece and team leader?

But will his ego and his agent allow him to take a substantial pay cut to do so?

I hope so, that would be great, but I'm not so sure it will happen.

Gute & Murphy have a bunch of Big Boy decisions to make in the off-season.

*New Coach
*Mathews?
*Perry?
*Cobb?
*Bulaga?
*Breeland?
*Wilkerson?
*Graham?

Oh yes, the NFL Draft, Free Agency

I hope Murphy and Gute are Red Bull fans, they will need it!

This should be the most interesting off-season in decades.

I hope Murphy and Gute are up to the task!

Do not let us down!

Go Bold or Go home!

Go Pack!

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stockholder's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:19 pm

Breeland may have found a home. We all know what Casey Hayward got when he left.

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WMA's picture

December 10, 2018 at 03:53 pm

Breeland is the only one on that list that would be a mistake if we do not resign him.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 10, 2018 at 04:21 pm

Very simple: if Clay can command big FA dollars somewhere else, adios!

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Rufus's picture

December 10, 2018 at 05:26 pm

Clay's big contract days are over. He better take what he can get. I don't think its in the Packers best interest to sign him unless he see's the light.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 10, 2018 at 09:38 pm

All it takes in FA is one team who thinks the change of scenery might be all it takes to rekindle...

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Wilment's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:13 pm

I don't see any reason not to bring CM back....from what I can see, he is no less than second on the overall depth chart for all linebackers on this squad. Im hoping they can get a deal done to bring him back to finish up here. I believe Randall Cobb showed yesterday that he still has some go as well, and Rodgers certainly has a comfort level with him. Fingers crossed a deal can be made.

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Big Moe's picture

December 11, 2018 at 08:39 am

CMIII is still of value, Cobb is on the field so rarely I'd got him confused with Nick Perry.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:15 pm

Two years, 3mil guaranteed, 500k per year off season workout bonus, 50k per game roster bonus, plus bonus for All Pro 500k

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stockholder's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:16 pm

CM3 gets 8- 10 mil. per market price. I say he'll sign like Peppers. 10 mil. 1year. 10 mil. 2nd year. 10mil 3rd year club option. he's a packer. You just over paid Arron Rodgers, Graham. and Cobb for sitting the bench. CM3 can adjust to any coach, as he's shown us this year. And he's still needed.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

December 11, 2018 at 09:46 am

Check your facts. Peppers signed a 3.5 mil contract last year and a 5 mil this year. CM3 is worth that kind of money.
https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/carolina-panthers/julius-peppers-1243/

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Kb999's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:27 pm

Time to move on from all the dinosaurs. We need to get younger.

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Rak47's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:29 pm

CM3 is worth 8mil at ILB. He could play OLB in a pinch, but imho with Pettine on board he will find Clay ways to get to the QB from the ILB spot. Clay is not worth 10-12 million as an edge rusher.

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Spock's picture

December 10, 2018 at 02:55 pm

Sure, bring him back -for the right price. It's as simple as that. As someone above said he was jobbed out of at least two sacks by the refs so his sack total should be at least two more than he's credited with. He's still a valuable piece to have for the team.

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dobber's picture

December 10, 2018 at 08:17 pm

Not going to guess what he's worth, contract-wise, but you can't let everyone go because every player that goes you need to replace...and the Packers are already paper-thin on the edge. The ultimate question is: what will the new coaching staff want?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 11, 2018 at 05:20 am

I think what you wrote is true, but it is also the argument for not cutting Graham, signing CM3 and Nick Perry, and keeping Cobb last year. It will probably be the argument raised for re-signing Kendricks, Wilkerson, Ibraheim Campbell, and probably for tendering Brice and Allison for more than we'd like. To be clear, we probably need to tender Allison at $4M to keep him for sure, which would cost me a pang but seems like maybe it is the way to go overall to even a cheapskate like me, and I'd be fine with $2M for Brice, though that gives GB just the right to match. Tenders aren't guaranteed so we can cut Brice in September and not owe him anything.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 10, 2018 at 03:03 pm

If you still see a place for Clay go back and watch him bouncing off of card players on their way to the end zone.

Nobody needs to pay 5 million/year for a LB who refuses to play run, can't tackle when the runner plows into him and gets maybe 5 sacks a year and is worthless in coverage

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Bearmeat's picture

December 10, 2018 at 03:12 pm

Not intersted in having CM3 as any more than a #3 OLB - and having him be paid like it. 3-5 Mil for 2 years-ish? There's no room for him at ILB. I want to see Burks and Josh Jones opposite Martinez.

I'd say overall, a pass.

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Christopher Gennaro's picture

December 10, 2018 at 05:34 pm

Me too right with you, he's now at best a situational rusher. I see people talking 8 to 10 million, no way he's not an every down player anymore. Hey Bearmeat am I missing something?

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dobber's picture

December 10, 2018 at 08:20 pm

If the new DC (assuming there's a new one) plays more even fronts, he could be a serviceable strong side OLB with Martinez in the middle and Burks on the weak side. Would allow this team to address other needs through the draft...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 11, 2018 at 05:27 am

I'd guess someone will view CM3 as a perfectly fine off the ball LB with some sideline to sideline skills, some coverage ability, and the occasional rush ability particularly on twists and delayed blitzes. I think CM3 still tackles runners just fine.

Sounds worth $5M AAV to me.

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CAG123's picture

December 10, 2018 at 03:27 pm

We’ve seen guys like John Abraham, Robert Mathis, Julius Peppers, Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney etc extend their careers by being used in pass rush situations and have their snaps reduced it would be foolish for them not to consider especially because everyone thought Reggie Gilbert was so great Matthews is definitely better than any reserve they currently have besides MAYBE Fackrell. I’m for him being brought back on a cheap 2-3 year deal.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 10, 2018 at 06:27 pm

Agreed.

Plus my son has, and I in my classroom as well, some FULL SIZE Matthews Fatheads I'd like to stay relevant for a few more years.

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Justin84's picture

December 10, 2018 at 03:40 pm

Multiple different positions?

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Lphill's picture

December 10, 2018 at 03:43 pm

Packers defense is better with Clay on it. Bring him back use him as a 3 rd down pass rusher keep his legs fresh.

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henry113's picture

December 10, 2018 at 05:17 pm

We don't need an old part time player.

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Lphill's picture

December 10, 2018 at 05:24 pm

He is not that old and other pass rushers are limited by snaps . He has some game left in him.

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henry113's picture

December 10, 2018 at 05:31 pm

you get old fast playing in the NFL.

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Rick1's picture

December 10, 2018 at 06:53 pm

I think you bring him back on the cheap and give him a ILBS spot to get production out of him in his last years remaining. His experience and ability to rush from inside would be a perfect fit.

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Since91's picture

December 10, 2018 at 07:35 pm

No doubt we bring him back...2 years 6-10 million. We need some veteran leadership and we owe Clay for all he has done...and he deserves to finish his career as a Packer.

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dobber's picture

December 10, 2018 at 08:23 pm

I don't believe in teams owing players or players owing teams anything. They get paid. They do their thing. You say, "thanks" when it's all done and move on like gentlemen. It's when you feel obligated to do something that you end up with late-career Donald Drivers who can't run and take up space.

That said: CMIII can still run, so taking a shot without too much guaranteed money wouldn't be the worst thing ever.

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Since91's picture

December 10, 2018 at 07:36 pm

Free agent class is not looking to great for the Pack with lots of money to spend..……..

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 11, 2018 at 05:32 am

I don't mean anything good or bad, but your username is inspiring me to change mine to Since 2019. Prospectively, of course. Maybe Post MM or Post TT?

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Fire_Gute's picture

December 10, 2018 at 07:40 pm

I would like to see him come back, if the price is right and if it means that perry is gone for sure. With all the questionable personnel decisions over the years we don't know if it was Clay not wanting to play mlb more, as is commonly thought, or if previous staff didn't know where to play him. I think he has some value as a mlb and some as a situational pass rusher. I don't believe he's a number 1 at either position. But with all the (hopefully) new faces on d next year, some veterans are going to have to return, and I can't think of anyone I would rather bring back.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 10, 2018 at 08:46 pm

Right now is is better than the other OLBs on this team. For whatever that is worth.

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bbarryirish's picture

December 10, 2018 at 09:08 pm

Love what he brought us for 6-7 years.
He now "makes" 2-3 plays a game and is burned badly 15-20 times. Watch tape and focus on his incredible ability to be used because of his need for sacks.
It's past time to go.

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egbertsouse's picture

December 10, 2018 at 09:40 pm

Yeah, let’s bring him back next year to be a designated hair-tosser at $5 mil. And then bring back Perry at $6 mil to be the designated bench-rider and Cobb at $8 mil to be the designated hamstring- puller.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 11, 2018 at 06:49 am

Matthews is set to hit the open market. You can be sure his agent is already working to assess his potential worth to all 32 teams, not just the Packers.
I agree with the general consensus that Matthews is around a $4-6 mil/yr guy. The pertinent value is the highest one placed on him by any 1 of the 32 teams.

I like that Gute is willing to try to navigate the minefield that is FA more than TT did. But it is a very dangerous game. Take the wrong step and you blow a hole in your cap. And there will be wrong steps. The key is to make sure the damage of a worst case scenario doesn't hurt too much. It takes good scouting and good discipline from the negotiator to make sure that a proper value is assigned to a player and when things go above that, they walk away.

That's why I never get too worked up about this one guy or that one. Because it all depends on the number.

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Houndog's picture

December 11, 2018 at 07:11 am

At a reasonable price, I'd like to see him return.
With what will likely be a restructuring of the team a few long-time Packer veterans will be valuable.
That said, I've watched Matthews a lot this year, and it might be his best in the last 5 years. Sure, he's lost a step, but moving him to the middle or making him a situational pass rusher could help both him and the Packers.
Let's not forget all the great pass rushers he's had as a supporting cast the past few years, what were their names again?
Is he worth $8-10M per year, hell no, but for $5 or even $6M per year and a decent supporting cast he can still be disruptive.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

December 11, 2018 at 09:53 am

Sign him to 2 or 3 year deal averaging 5 mil or less and structure it so we are not in dead money hell after words. Cut Perry. Draft and Edge rusher high and see if any one hits the FA market..

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Big_Mel_75's picture

December 11, 2018 at 09:56 am

.

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SCLI's picture

December 11, 2018 at 03:40 pm

I believe we should resign CMIII. He's played better this season then in the previous 2 or 3 yrs. I think those early Bogus Roughing Calls against him hurt his game a bit. For awhile he was asked to drop back in coverage. He's better then any of our other OLB's & still serviceable. He can play inside. He's a vet. If he's willing to take a reasonable salary. I say sign him for 2 Yrs & utilize what's left in his tank. But Packers must CUT PERRY! NO ifs, &'s or BUTs. He's just taking up a spot and costing $$$.

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canadapacker's picture

December 11, 2018 at 05:19 pm

Dont know what he is like in the locker room now. But from what I have seen of his on field performance lately I would hope that he be willing to take a pay cut and stay with the team. He can still make plays and he still has some passion and giddyup and that might translate into helping some young guys develop. While guys like Martinez, Fackrell , Perry and Ryan ( when he was healthy) can make some plays and tackles it is always after big gains. We need faster younger guys and training them might be up to CM3 - if he is willing.

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