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Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews closer to new contracts

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson might have sat out free agency -- as is his wont -- but he wasn't exactly working on his golf swing. Thompson was busy coming up with a plan to keep his own star players on the Packers.

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The Packers are closing in on a deal that will make Aaron Rodgers the highest-paid player in the NFL. The quarterback would like to have the new contract in place by April 15, which is when the team reports for offseason conditioning, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

Once Rodgers' contract is settled, Thompson will turn his attention toward finalizing deals for outside linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji.

Rapoport was told that the Packers' latest offer to Matthews already eclipses Dallas Cowboys pass rusher DeMarcus Ware's six-year, $78 million contract worth $13 million annually.

In other words, Matthews will become the highest-paid pass-rushing linebacker in the NFL.

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The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported last week that "everything is in place" for the Packers to put the finishing touches on Matthews' contract. If that's the case, Thompson might have his best offensive and defensive players locked up with long-term contracts before the 2013 NFL Draft later this month.

UPDATE: Rodgers already has decided he doesn't plan to hold out or stay away from offseason conditioning, Rapoport reported Wednesday, so expect a deal to be done.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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