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Clay Matthews becomes highest-paid Packer in history - for now

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Clay Matthews is the highest-paid player in Green Bay Packers history - for now.

Matthews signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday that's worth a reported $66 million once it kicks in next season. It's an average of $13.2 million per year, which makes the 26-year-old Matthews the NFL's highest-paid linebacker at the moment.

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As for being the highest-paid Packer - well, Aaron Rodgers could assume that crown any day, with an extension that's projected to be in the $25 million a year range.

Matthews told reporters he's glad the Packers put enough trust in him to award him his monster contract - and he vowed to continue "unwavering perseverance on the field."

The University of Southern California product has had 42.5 sacks in his first four NFL seasons since the Packers drafted him in the first round.

Steeler defensive lineman auditions

The Packers reportedly brought in Pittsburgh defensive lineman Steve McLendon for an audition yesterday. He's a restricted free agent, which means the Steelers can match an offer if the Packers make one.

If McLendon signs with Green Bay, the Packers will not have to give up a draft choice since the Steelers offered him the low one-year tender for his position at $1.3 million.

The 27-year-old McLendon is a three-year NFL veteran with three sacks. Two of those came last season, when he played in all 16 games for Pittsburgh. He was an undrafted player out of Troy.

Badgers spring game

Some of Wisconsin's most notable football players will not take part in Saturday's annual spring game in Madison. Ever since Lee Evans tore a knee a decade ago, the Badgers have been cautious about letting their stars play in their biggest off-season scrimmage.

New coach Gary Andersen won't change that now. Receiver Jared Abbrederis will sit out Saturday, along with running back James White, offensive lineman Ryan Groy and defensive standouts Chris Borland, Dezmen Southward and Ethan Hemer.

Defensive linemen Brendan Kelly and Beau Allen will also miss the spring game with minor injuries.

Running back Jeff Lewis is also out after he hurt his left arm and right foot during a scrimmage Wednesday. He's expected to be ready for Wisconsin's pre-season camp this summer.

Melvin Gordon and fullback Derek Watt are expected to get a number of carries on Saturday.

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