4 Green Bay Packers Who Deserve Long-Term Extensions

Matt SmithContributor IIIApril 13, 2012

4 Green Bay Packers Who Deserve Long-Term Extensions

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    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

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    Still under team control through the 2015 season, Rodgers isn't getting an extension because his contract is soon to run out.

    Rodgers signed a deal back in 2008 that averages about $11 million per season. For perspective, Drew Brees was offered a contract worth $18 million per year and turned it down this offseason.

    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

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    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

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    Just kidding.

    Chalk this one up as a dishonorable mention. If anything, Hawk needs a contract reduction.

Greg Jennings, WR

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    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

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    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.