Clay Matthews, Packers agree to 5-year extension

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Clay Matthews signed a five-year contract extension with the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday, ensuring that the heart and soul of Green Bay's defense will call Lambeau Field home for the foreseeable future.

Clay Matthews will be staying in Green Bay for quite some time. The Packers and Matthews agreed to a long-term contract extension on Wednesday, with Matthews taking to Twitter to break the news himself.

Matthews' extension is for five seasons, and carries an average annual value north of $13 million, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. The deal makes Matthews the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL, exceeding DeMarcus Ware's average annual salary of $11 million.

Further details of Matthews contract, including bonuses and guaranteed money, are currently unknown.

Matthews entrenched himself as the heart and soul of Green Bay's defense ever since the Packers selected him with the No. 26 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Matthews has been named to the NFC's Pro Bowl roster in each of his four seasons in the NFL and has twice been named an All-Pro (2010, 2012). Matthews was the 2010 NFC Defensive Player of the Year as well, after recording 60 tackles and 13.5 sacks in 15 games.

Few linebackers in the league have a resume as impressive as Matthews. In addition to all the accolades and awards, Matthews helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl title in 2011.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson had cap space to work with this offseason, but instead of spending it on free agents he chose to reward some of his own players. In addition to Matthews, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to receive a contract extension in the coming weeks.

Green Bay's defense has been the Achilles heel of the Packers in recent years, but Matthews is certainly not to blame. With Matthews now locked up long-term, Thompson and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy now have a franchise defender to build around.

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