Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers are not afraid to spend big money on players — they just don’t like spending significant money on players that are unproven.
Well, Thursday, the Packers made their most significant signing since the start of the NFL free-agent frenzy and once again, their splash was re-signing one of their own as the team and outside linebacker Nick Perry agreed to a one-year, $5 million dollar deal according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
And while the move may not send shock waves through the league like some other signings have, it assures the Packers of having good depth at outside linebacker, while at the same time, giving Perry another year to develop into the kind of player Green Bay envisioned, when it selected him in the first round out of USC back in 2012.
Up to this point, it would be easy to call Perry a bust. After all, he has posted just 12.5 sacks in four seasons and has had difficulty staying healthy throughout his time in Green Bay. But, at the end of last season, Perry showed flashes of brilliance, especially in the playoffs, when he posted 3.5 sacks, eight tackles and a forced fumble in just two games.
Yet, the 2015 season was also his best all-around campaign in Green Bay. The former first-rounder, played in 14 of 16 regular-season games and played a little more than 30 percent of the snaps. He finished the season with 33 tackles and 3.5 sacks and again showed toughness setting the edge in the running game.
The Packers have said that they want to move Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker and that may still be true, but Perry’s presence, gives them some leeway should #52 still have to take some snaps inside.
And who knows, with more chances and a bigger role on the defense, it’s possible that Perry plays well enough next season to supplant Julius Peppers as the starter opposite Matthews in 2017. However, if Perry struggles, Green Bay can still move on from him, without taking a big-hit financially.
As Packers fans have heard time and time again, it’s not the sexy moves in free agency that build championship teams — it’s the solid ones — the inexpensive ones. And even though the Perry singing won’t make huge headlines, it made the Packers a better football team for next season and in the end, that’s what the off-season is all about.