Jayrone Elliott Returns to Packers in One-Year Deal

Jayrone Elliott visited two teams and ultimately decided to return to Green Bay, signing a one-year contract with the Packers.

Earlier last week, the Packers declined a $1.797 million restricted free agent tender on Elliott. In doing so, Elliott immediately became a free agent. He visited with the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, but ultimately chose to return to the Packers for his fourth season.

2016 was a challenging year for Elliott. He missed seven games, including the Wild Card and Divisional playoff games, with a broken hand. His impact on defense statistically was small – one sack and 13 tackles – but there are bright spots.

Impact of signing Jayrone Elliott on the Packers defense

Elliott recorded 3.5 “stuffs,” a stat for a tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage. That’s more than Clay Matthews (2.5), Datone Jones (2) or Julius Peppers (1) had last season, according to Scout.com.

The Packers were one of the league’s best run-stopping defenses in the early part of the season, and Elliott joins Nick Perry as part of the solution.

If Green Bay ends up losing Datone Jones in free agency, Elliott will most certainly see more playing time as a pass rusher along with second-year outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell. The Packers need bodies at pass rusher, and Elliott fits the mold.

This signing also benefits the Packers on special teams. Elliott has been a consistent performer on special teams, and NFL scouts told Bob McGinn before free agency that he could draw interest from other teams based on his value in that area.

Is this a fair contract for Elliott and the Packers?

Elliott and the Packers agreed to a one-year, $1.6 million deal. The Packers declined to offer Elliott the restricted free agent tender of $1.797 million, and Elliott wound up signing a contract similar to the tender.

If the Packers had offered Elliott the tender, he would have been free to visit and sign an offer sheet with another team. Green Bay would then have the opportunity to match the offer sheet. If the Packers chose not to match the deal, they would not receive any compensation for the loss of Elliott.

Green Bay allowed Elliott to visit other clubs and test the market. The linebacker did not find another combination of opportunity and salary better than what the Packers offered, and is now back in the fold for 2017.