Green Bay Packers: How much will they pay Nick Perry?

Green Bay Packers' linebacker Nick Perry has been a dominant force in 2016. Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers' linebacker Nick Perry has been a dominant force in 2016. Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

If Nick Perry stays healthy and continues to play at his current high level, the Green Bay Packers will need to open the checkbook to keep the outside linebacker.

Through the Green Bay Packers‘ first four games, linebacker Nick Perry has performed at an elite level. This is the player Ted Thompson expected when he drafted Perry in the 1st round in 2012.

Perry picked up another sack Sunday night against the New York Giants to give him 4.5 on the season. He also ranks 7th in the NFL in sacks, despite playing one fewer game than the rest of the guys in front of him.

Now the one has to ask the question: Will Thompson offer Perry a multi-year contract at market value? Some details on that potential contract can be found below.

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It’s not like Perry has lived off of one huge game. He’s been a consistent force for the Packers, collecting at least one-half of a sack in each of the first four games.

Of course, most people didn’t question Perry’s talent. For the most part, his issue has simply been an inability to stay healthy. He has showed flashes of brilliance before.

Look no further than the Green Bay Packers’ two playoff games last season.

Perry collected 3.5 sacks, five tackles and three assists in those two pressure-packed contests. It’s amazing what health allows great athletes to do.

And thus far, Perry has continued his terrific play into 2016. While the sacks have been great, it’s not the only place he has thrived.

He has also played a huge role in the Packers’ impenetrable run defense. Green Bay is allowing only 42.75 rushing yards per game, including the Giants’ 43 yards in Week 5.

The defensive line has done a tremendous job of blowing up blockers, allowing Perry and the other linebackers to fill holes and make tackles. Teams are averaging a minuscule two yards per carry, easily the best in the NFL.

So what might Perry command on the open market if Thompson allows him to test free agency? Perry is currently playing on a one-year, $5 million deal.

Well, a quick look at some of the highest paid outside linebackers resulted in these numbers.

Top 10 in base salary (2017): Average of $8.59 million per season

Top 10 in guaranteed money: Average of $29.95 million

Top 11-20 in base salary: Average of $5.25 million per season

Top 11-20 in guaranteed money: $16.33 million

Granted, it would be difficult to claim that Perry would receive a top-10 base salary or guaranteed bonus at this point. However, this gives some perspective should any team go “all in” on him.

Let’s say Perry was offered a top-10 outside linebacker deal for four seasons. That would roughly come out to a four-year, $64.5 contract with around $30 million guaranteed.

If he was presented with a deal between the 11th and 20th-best paid at his position, it sounds more reasonable. It would amount to a four-year, $37.5 million contract with about $16.5 million guaranteed.

As most people know by now, the only cash that truly matters is the guaranteed amount. The years and base salary, for all practical purposes, are window dressing. A team can cut a player any time without repercussions (aside from the guaranteed amount).

Considering Julius Peppers’ contract comes off the books ($7 million base salary) and Clay Matthews consistently battles injuries, Perry would be a guy worth taking a sizable risk on.

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He is still only 26 years old, and Perry doesn’t have the same type of miles on his legs because of the time missed due to injury. Four seasons puts Perry at the magic age of 30 years old if that’s a concern.

There are currently only three Green Bay Packers with contracts that were signed as five-year deals: Matthews, Bryan Bulaga, and Aaron Rodgers. With that in mind, it looks like four years would be the cutoff.

Thompson is certainly formulating his plan as we speak. He could offer something to Perry now, selling the injury-prone linebacker on a slightly smaller offer to guarantee him money before a potential setback.

Or the Packers’ GM can let the whole season play out and evaluate Perry then. After all, it’s only been a small sample size of play. There are certain risks and rewards on both sides of the table.

Next: Packers' offensive line plays amazing game vs. Giants

I’m thinking Thompson waits until December, but gets a contract hashed out by season’s end. I’d be looking at a four-year contract in the neighborhood of $40 million total.

Only one thing is for certain at this point: Nick Perry has been a vital piece in the Green Bay Packers’ 3-1 start this season.