Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers Clay Matthews only guaranteed signing bonus

The Green Bay Packers signed star pass rusher Clay Matthews to a highly lucrative contract extension worth $66 million over five seasons, so they did indeed give the 26-year-old USC product over $13 million per season. The National Football Post’s Joel Corry had another terrific piece breaking down a player’s contract, as Corry delved into the numbers behind Matthews’s new deal. According to the NFP, the only money that was guaranteed in Matthews’s deal is his signing bonus- none of his salary is guaranteed. But that signing bonus is a whopping $20.5 million, with a large sum of that being paid out during his first two seasons.

Thus, 31.1% of Matthews’s contract is tied up in his signing bonus and guaranteed. His base salaries start to get high in the “non-guaranteed” column once you get to 2015, when that figure jumps from $1 million to $7.6 million in non-guaranteed money. Thus, the Packers are leaving themselves with a bit of an out-clause that becomes better-defined once Matthews heads into 2016- the fourth year of his deal. While the Packers won’t anticipate releasing Matthews, stranger things have happened than a talented player not living up to a lucrative contract.

The Packers still have a big deal to send to franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and his figures will be astronomical. Clay Matthews received quite the payday himself, and the Packers preferred to give Matthews that guaranteed money all up-front in signing bonus. Ted Thompson is one of the best GMs in the business, and he does a great job with structuring cap finances. It’s pretty commonplace to stack up the guaranteed cash at the beginning of the deal and escalate the non-guaranteed base salaries.

But here’s the thing, the Packers didn’t give Matthews much guaranteed money when you look at the deal fellow star pass rusher Mario Williams inked with the Buffalo Bills. Matthews is the third-highest paid defensive player in the league (pass rushers are more valuable than defensive backs these days), and yet his guaranteed money is more than palatable for the Packers diet. More than $13 million per year is a lot to shell out over five seasons, but the Packers could be off the hook for quite a bit of it if things fall apart. The Packers are willing to pay Matthews what he deserves if it all pays off, and this was an excellent deal from the Packers perspective. Clay Matthews received a huge sum of money, but the Packers are managing it well by only giving what’s in the signing bonus as guaranteed money.

Matthews was set to make $4.91 million in the final year of his rookie contract, but the 13-sack OLB in 2012 will net $1.8 million more in base salary with a cool $6.71 million slated to be made in 2013.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter for more NFL updates and analysis @SorianoJoe.

Tags: Clay Matthews Green Bay Packers

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