Here's Why Re-signing Nick Perry Isn't a No Brainer
Nick Perry is going to get paid in the offseason, and the Packers may do well to let their former first round pick move on to greener pastures.
The value for Perry isn’t as high as the franchise tag at the linebacker position – around $14 million for one year. OverTheCap.com’s collection of 3-4 outside linebackers will give you a good feel for what his asking price may be this offseason.
Let’s take a quick look at three reasons why the Packers should be wary about offering Perry a big contract.
He’s most likely reached his ceiling of his talent.
I hope Nick Perry gets all of the sacks and becomes the NFL’s best defensive player. Ideally, it’d be great if he did it with the Packers.
A look at Pro Football Focus’ yearly grades for Perry shows a tremendous bump from 2015 to 2016:
The team that signs Perry for 2017 and beyond will be banking on the 2016 version of Perry showing up, one that used his leverage and power against offensive lineman to affect the pocket and stop the run.
Perry’s success was a large part of the Packers’ early season success at stopping the run. Heading into Green Bay’s October matchup against Dallas, the defense had allowed the second fewest rushing yards through four games (171) of any team in the Super Bowl era.
If you take a step back and think about Nick Perry, though, 2016 probably is as good as it gets. He may be able to get home a few more times to the quarterback, but his strengths were used as best as the Packers defense could this season.
He’s never had a season with more than four sacks before 2016.
Perry reached double digit sacks for the first time in his fifth season. Referring back to the top-paid 3-4 outside linebackers, it’s clear to see Perry is a late bloomer.
For those outside linebackers making between $5 million and $10 million, here’s when they each reached the double digit sack plateau:
- Jerry Hughes, Buffalo: 4th season
- Julius Peppers, Green Bay: 1st season
- Pernell McPhee, Chicago: Never
- Brian Orakpo, Tennessee: 1st season
- Tamba Hali, Kansas City: 5th season
- Lamarr Houston, Chicago: Never
- Derrick Morgan, Tennessee: Never
- Ahmad Brooks, San Francisco: Never
- Whitney Mercilus, Houston: 4th season
- DeMarcus Ware, Denver: 2nd season
- Robert Mathis, Indianapolis: 2nd season
- Elvis Dumervil, Baltimore: 2nd season
- Terrell Suggs, Baltimore: 1st season
First, it’s clear that the Bears love signing pass rushers who have limited success. Never change, Chicago.
Second, only the Chiefs’ Tamba Hali reached double digit sacks as late in his career as Perry has done. While Perry’s success will be rewarded with a solid contract, it’s notable that only two linebackers on this list finished this season in the top 20 in sacks.
He’s regularly injured, and his availability going forward is a concern.
The best ability for a football team is often your availability. Green Bay already has a linebacker in Clay Matthews with a history of multi-week injuries.
If the Packers keep Perry, it does not necessarily solve or create immense depth at the pass rusher position.
Because it’s likely both Perry and Matthews could be out for more than one week during the season, the Packers will need to keep a stable of young, promising edge defenders to pick up the slack when one or both are unavailable.
In five years with the Packers, Perry has appeared in 60 of the team’s 80 regular season contests. Essentially, he plays in three of every four games.
All told, Perry is a risky proposition to invest in going forward.