4 Green Bay Packers Who Deserve Long-Term Extensions
The Green Bay Packers have a philosophy they live by: develop through the draft.
They aren't big spenders in free agency, tending not to lure high-profile players to Lambeau. Instead, they draft players, develop them and re-sign them.
They have five players who will be impending free agents within the next few seasons that need to get extended long term. This season looks like a good time to do that.
Note: contract info taken from Rotoworld.
Aaron Rodgers, QB
Still under team control through the 2015 season, Rodgers isn't getting an extension because his contract is soon to run out.
The league's MVP has a base salary of $8 million this year. It's time for Rodgers to get paid a bit more than that.
Clay Matthews, LB
Clay Matthews was the only pass-rushing threat on the Packer defense in 2011. He recorded six sacks on the season, a team high.
He also showed marked improvement in his coverage and run-stopping skills. Unfortunately, the Packers defense wasn't very good, so it didn't pay off as much as it should have.
Matthews is one the NFL's biggest bargains. He'll be receiving a base salary of $800,000 in 2012 as part of the five-year, $9.925 million contract he signed coming out of USC in '09. He probably won't be too happy about that (though, as Rotoworld explains, "Another $3.35 million is available through incentives, including a 'likely to be earned' onetime escalator clause of $1.525 million").
Although under team control through 2013, Packer management should work to iron out a deal this season.
A.J. Hawk, LB
Chalk this one up as a dishonorable mention. If anything, Hawk needs a contract reduction.
Greg Jennings, WR
Interestingly, even though Greg Jennings was the No. 1 receiver on Green Bay's offense, Jordy Nelson led the Packers in receptions, yards, touchdowns and yards per game last year.
That was partly a result of Nelson benefiting from the attention Jennings received, and the fact that Jennings was injured for part of the season.
After this season, Green Bay's top wideout is a free agent. It'll want to lock him up before he hits the free-agent market.
T.J. Lang, G
T.J. Lang, who was solid in his play at left guard last season, is one of Green Bay's under-the-radar players and soon-to-be free agents.
Still just 24 years old, the Packers would be wise to keep a young starter that they've seen develop over the past few years.
When the Packers lost Daryn Colledge in free agency last year, it wasn't too big of a deal. Losing Lang, who took over for Colledge, would be.
Green Bay should offer this young offensive lineman a multiyear extension as soon as possible. It has got to be wary of overpaying, though.