Green Bay Packers: Could Nick Perry return?

Nick Perry still finds himself on the free agent market, so could the Green Bay Packers bring him back in 2019 to add depth to the EDGE rusher position?

The Green Bay Packers knew that overhauling the EDGE rusher position was a must this offseason, and a part of that process included letting go of veteran Nick Perry.

Once the Packers had signed Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency, the writing was on the wall for Perry and Green Bay would decide to cut him, even with a dead cap hit of $11.1 million.

After signing a five-year, $60 million deal, Perry would struggle to live up to those expectations and over the last two seasons, he was often injured playing in only 21 of Green Bay’s 32 games.

Now Perry still sits on the open market and even with his history in Green Bay and the new players they’ve replaced him with, there is some value in bringing him back.

With just under $9 million in cap space available for the Green Bay Packers, of course, the biggest factor in all of this is the contract. But if they could bring Perry in at the veteran minimum, which is $930,000 for him, and also be able to get out of the contract without any repercussions, a reunion is worth considering.

Although as a whole the 2018 season was a particularly down one for Perry, the previous two seasons he totaled 18 sacks and 86 total pressures. When on the field, Perry has been a fairly productive player.

However, injuries would become the biggest concern for Perry, but if brought back, he would play a much different role here in Green Bay.

As the fourth or fifth option on the team at EDGE, Perry wouldn’t have to be “the guy” anymore. A reduced role could greatly benefit his ability to stay healthy and it would allow defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to put Perry in a position to succeed, so hopefully, we would see the Nick Perry of 2016 and 2017 when he is on the field.

The trickle-down effect of signing Perry is that the Green Bay Packers would likely have to part ways with Reggie Gilbert, Kendall Donnerson, or both.

In the past, we have typically seen Green Bay keep five players at EDGE and we know that Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, and Kyler Fackrell are locks at this point. Meaning, if Perry is brought back, the Packers either need to keep six on the roster and take a roster spot away from another position or likely let go of Gilbert and place Donnerson on the Practice Squad, hoping another team doesn’t snatch him up.

Realistically, outside of an injury, I don’t see the Green Bay Packers making this move. Choosing Perry over Gilbert or Donnerson goes against their trend of getting younger.

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With that said, having Perry as the team’s fifth option at EDGE provides some terrific depth and would be a nice luxury to have. While some may never want to see Perry in green and gold again, I can understand why the move would be made but once again, I don’t see it being likely.

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