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Cheese Curds, 1/30: Clay Matthews’ contract and role in Packers’ defense remain uncertain

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The Packers have several questions to answer regarding their six-time Pro Bowl linebacker.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What will the Green Bay Packers do with Clay Matthews?

That is one of the more intriguing questions of the offseason. While Matthews had a bit of a bounce-back season from a pass-rushing perspective — he had 7.5 sacks, his most in a season since 11 — some questions remain about his long-term viability as an edge rusher. The move he made to inside linebacker a few years ago seemed to be beneficial for the defense as a whole, and now rumblings are starting up about whether he could move back inside on a more consistent basis again.

There remain questions about where the team needs him the most, of course, and one of those questions revolves around the team’s depth on the edge. Without him, the Packers would need someone — one of the young backups, a free agent signing, or a high draft pick — to step up as a starting-caliber player. Then there’s the question about Matthews’ contract, as he is owed $11.4 million in 2018. It seems unlikely that the Packers would cut him outright, but they could pursue a contract extension to lower his cap hit.

All of that combines to make for quite the uncertain offseason for Matthews. Here’s hoping Mike Pettine has some good ideas on how to use him.

Packers need Clay Matthews playing inside linebacker | Pete Dougherty
Sure, Clay could move back inside on a more regular basis, but that leaves the edge group thin. Furthermore, if the Packers use more 4-3 Under concepts under Mike Pettine, playing him at the Sam position gets him off the ball anyway, while still letting him rush off the edge. Then there's the question of what to do with Josh Jones if you have Matthews and Blake Martinez at linebacker. These are tough questions, but I'm glad Pettine is the one who has to answer them.

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Check out a bunch of social media posts from the Packers' two Pro Bowlers over the last week.

Dean Pees named Titans' new defensive coordinator - NFL.com
This means that Darren Perry isn't getting the job, but he's still leaving Green Bay regardless. Here's hoping for his sake that he has some leads on new positions.

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