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Clay Matthews is Not the Best Linebacker…

Clay Matthews' sack dance

… According to Clay Matthews. The Green Bay Packers gave their star defensive player a huge contract extension on Wednesday, which made him the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL. Does that mean Clay Matthews is the best linebacker in the league?

The fish aren’t biting, Tyler Dunne.

“Am I best linebacker? Ahh, hmm, I’m not going to take your bait,” Matthews said. “But I think I play this game at a high level and I agree with the numbers they put up as well as what I’ve been able to accomplish both on the field and off the field as well as my leadership.

“Take that for what you want, but I think I bring a lot to this game.”

That, apparently, was Dunne’s question to Matthews. You’re the highest-paid linebacker. Are you the best linebacker?

Matthews didn’t have a hell of a lot to say after signing his new mega-deal, but we found it amusing that the Journal Sentinel used that angle as their lead on the follow-up story.

Here’s the real deal, though. It was buried deep down in said story and is something we’ve been discussing for the majority of the offseason. Are Aaron Rodgers‘ and Matthews’ contracts going to cripple the Packers financially?

“One thing this organization does well,” Matthews said, “I know we catch a little heat sometimes that we like to build through the draft and develop our players and we’ve done a great job of that. Our free agents are the ones who were up on their contracts. It’s no different than Aaron, myself or whoever’s up next. I’ll leave that to them, but for the most part we’ve had some success here over the last few years in maintaining keep players and I don’t see it to be any different.”

Matthews spoke a lot of truth in that statement. The biggest truth is the I’ll leave that to them part.

We’re not going to hate on Matthews for getting a huge deal. By NFL standards, he deserves it. We’re note going to hate on Rodgers when he breaks the bank either.

The front office better have made the right decision for the franchise, though.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. TyKoSteamboat April 18, 2013

    I loved the clips ESPN had on this story last night Of Clay crushen the sh*t outta Ponder & Cutler.

    Having an elite pass-rusher is now the 2nd most important thing an NFL team can have on the field (1st is obviously quarterback). We now have the best one in the NFL, in his prime, for the next 6 seasons.

    I hope Nick Perry will compliment him now from the other end.

    1. Vijay April 18, 2013

      Hmm…Demarcus Ware, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith, Jared Allen, Cameron Wake, Geno Atkins, Charles Johnson, JPP (Jason Pierre Paul), Terrell Suggs and Tamba Hali might have an argument as being the best. Obviously the top 4-5 I mentioned are for sure in the conversation.

      Personally, I missed on Von Miller during the draft but knew that J.J. Watt would be pretty good. However, I had no idea J.J. would be this special. Especially playing from a 4-3 DE/DT spots with his hand in the dirt most of the time.

      Clay is a top 5 Pass Rusher, when healthy, so he deserves the money he got. Hopefully, he stays healthy enough to live up to the contract.

      1. TyKoSteamboat April 18, 2013

        Of the names you listed, Watt & Miller could both be in the # 1 argument. However, stat-wise, Clay Matthews has the best #’s in the NFL. I can’t rattle em off. I know he has 42.5 sacks, 4 picks (2 for TD’s), & a fumble recovery for a TD. The dudes on NFL Live were saying he has the best #’s of any pass-rusher over the last 4 years.

        He plays smart, with a high-motor, works with Glazer & Liddell in the offseason & is a leader on the field & in the locker room.

        Broncos were smart to take Von Miller, I thought they should have drafted Patrick Peterson from LSU…

  2. Stephen April 19, 2013

    I kind of feel like he should have got less money. Of course, he has to slightly one up whatever amount the last best guy got: Demarcus Ware. Thats just how NFL contracts work. I just wonder how long this will go on. We have seen the dramatic rise in price of what is now considered to be “basic” for an “elite” qb which is 20 million dollars. So Rodgers should get 23? What about after Rodgers? Is there no end. I may just not be a good scout (probably true), but I’m not so convinced that Clay Matthews is more talented than Watts, Ware, Atkins or Von Miller. I’m not saying he is less. But I don’t know about better.

    Matthews sack numbers are impressive. Despite missing four games last year, he still got 13. He pretty much will get at least one sack a game at this point. However, Jared Allen got like 20 sacks a couple years ago. It never helped the vikings do anything. Of course, pass rush is important, but going all in for one guy to do it seems risky. And now they are in that position regardless if they can find someone talented enough. Clay Matthews is going to run himself into the ground much like Rodgers does on the offense. This team is getting to a point where they rely so heavily on only a few guys. Frankly, its terrifying.

  3. Iltarion April 19, 2013

    Clay Matthews is the best OLB in the game.

    You can’t compare a 4-3 end with Matthews. CM3 is not only the Packers’ best pass rusher, but he is also the best LB in coverage that they have. Though obviously the Packers don’t like to drop Matthews into coverage, he is still much better at it than Aldon Smith or Von Miller.