The Packers are unlikely to re-sign pass rusher Clay Matthews, according to Bob McGinn of BobMcGinnFootball.com, who reports Green Bay would let Matthews walk in free agency if the season ended today.
Matthews, 32, is in the final season of a five-year, $66MM extension he signed in April 2013. Next year, he’s scheduled to earn a base salary of $10.4MM and count for roughly $11.338MM on Green Bay’s salary cap. A new deal for Matthews could reduce his 2018 cap figure, especially if it contains a signing bonus that would prorate over the life of the pact, and Matthews recently indicated his representatives have discussed an extension with the Packers.
“My agency and upstairs have had talks,” Matthews said. “We’ll see where it goes. At the same time, I’ll just go out there and do my things and let the pieces fall where they may. “I’ve been here going on 10 years, so I’d like to obviously add a few more to that. I’m not in control of that. All I can control is what I do on Sundays, and hopefully it’s a big year.”
Of course, the primary reason there are conflicting reports on Matthews is that the season isn’t over: the Packers don’t have any impetus to address Matthews’ contact at this point, but the veteran linebacker could conceivably change the club’s mind over the course of the year. While Green Bay may be inclined to let Matthews leave via free agency next spring, it doesn’t appear that any strategy is set in stone.
As Matthews has aged, the Packers have reduced his snaps. Over the past two years, Matthews averaged only 566 snaps per season; conversely, from 2012-15, he saw action on 801 plays per year. That reduced usage may have helped Matthews’ play, as he graded as the NFL’s No. 22 pass rusher last season, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned Matthews his best marks since the 2012 campaign.
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