Report: Packers to Release OLB Nick Perry
The Packers will reportedly release outside linebacker Nick Perry following today’s free agent spending spree. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky first reported the news.
Perry’s release has long been assumed and became all but guaranteed when the Packers signed Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith this morning. Perry signed a rich free agent contract in early 2017, but was never able to replicate his breakout 2016 season. He was due a roster bonus of $4.8 million on March 14.
How does this release help the Packers?
Releasing Perry is a clear salary cap move, but it doesn’t clear tons of space. According to Tom Silverstein, the Perry move only gains the Packers about $3.6 million in cap relief right now.
The key part of the Perry release is whether or not it carries the post-June 1 designation. Acme Packing Company’s Tex Western has a full breakdown of the implications of such a designation here, but in short, it would allow the Packers to spread out the impact of cutting Perry over two seasons. Basically, as Tex writes below, the Packers’ will only be charged for Nick
If the Packers don’t use a post-June 1 designation, they’d have to absorb the full impact of Perry’s contract now. That seems unlikely, given the new cap charges they’ve racked up today.
Was Perry’s contract really a disaster?
The intervening years have not been kind to the deal Nick Perry signed with the Packers in 2017. But in hindsight, it’s not like they really had a choice.
Two things are true about pass rushers in the modern NFL: your defense needs them to survive and they’re wildly expensive.
Without Perry, the Packers would have been left with just Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers as their edge rushers heading into 2017. They desperately needed talent. Keeping a player coming off an 11-sack season who also happened to be an elite run defender was perfectly reasonable.
The pass rusher market in 2017 was also bereft of viable options. Someone was going to pay Perry a boatload of money. Reportedly, the New York Jets were ready to do just that. The Packers needed Perry and were facing competition to keep him. Thus, a big contract.
Perry had also been reasonably healthy over the previous three years, playing in 43 of a possible 48 regular season games. It got worse from there, certainly, but his “injury prone” label at the time was not entirely justified.
Perry may have been unproductive and unhealthy ever since, but let’s not exclusively play the results. The Packers’ thinking at the time was sound. The results since then have been bad. Sometimes you make the right move and lose. That’s not a weakness. That’s life.