Over the course of the NFL off-season, the Green Bay Packers will be cleaning house by cutting the fat in terms of high-priced veterans and players asking for more than the team is willing to pay in free agency.
Although the Packers are starting to cut corners by parting ways with a number of big-name players, Green Bay plans on retaining one of their best players on the defensive side of the football with linebacker Clay Matthews set to receiver a raise in 2013 according to Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel:
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews will receive a significant raise even if he doesn’t renegotiate his contract before the season starts.
Due to a performance-based escalator in his rookie deal, he will see his base salary increase from a scheduled $1.492 million to $3.73 million, according to a source with access to league salary data. The increase will raise his salary cap number to $4.91 million.
Ever since being drafted out of USC with the 26th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Matthews has been as advertised and is considered to be arguably one of the best linebackers in the game.
Right out of the gate, Matthews recorded 10.0 sacks in his rookie season with the Packers and has only improved on that total over the past three years.
In 2012, Matthews continued to record a high sack total with 13.0, but numbers fell off in other areas with no interceptions, one forced fumble and only two passes defended. Matthews’ numbers were still impressive considering the USC product only played in 12 seasons due to hamstring issues.
Although Matthews will receive a pay raise next season and is on the verge of earning a lucrative contract extension with the Packers, Green Bay has parted ways with veteran safety Charles Woodson and will let wide receiver Greg Jennings walk in free agency. The Packers also refused to re-sign Donald Driver forcing him into retirement and may part ways with tight end Jermichael Finley.