It may seem crazy for a team to part ways with a first-round pick from a draft that happened only two years ago. This is especially true if that player has had absolutely no off-field issues to speak of.
However, that might just happen between outside linebacker Nick Perry and the Green Bay Packers. Perry has had a real problem making a positive impact for the Packers, and now it's finally starting to catch up to him.
So, have we really seen the last of Perry in Green Bay? Let's look at the factors for what could potentially cause the split between these two parties.
A Lack of Production
The biggest problem that Perry has had since entering the league is staying on the field. Of course, that's ultimately going to affect his overall production.
Just look at what Perry has done during his two NFL seasons:
|Nick Perry's Statistics|
The first thing to note is that he's missed 15 of a possible 32 games. When you've missed nearly half your career games it's hard to make an impact.
To make matters worse, Perry hasn't participated in any offseason programs so far with an undisclosed injury. Perry's inability to stay on the field has caused frustration throughout the Packers organization, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
His linebacker coach Winston Moss also commented on just how much Perry is missing by being injured throughout OTAs and minicamp, per ESPN.com's Jason Wilde:
What all this time away from the field has caused for Perry is a lack of impact on the game. His six career sacks are an extremely pedestrian number, especially for a first-round pick who was supposed to excel at getting after the quarterback.
The lack of production, which is ultimately tied back to struggling to stay on the field, is what could ultimately cause the Packers to move on from Perry.
An Influx of Talent
For Perry's first two years in Green Bay the Packers were really lacking depth and talent at the outside linebacker position. Other than Clay Matthews, the Packers didn't have anyone who could consistently get pressure on the quarterback.
That's absolutely going to change during the 2014 season. For starters, the Packers signed Julius Peppers in the offseason. According to Ourlads.com, Peppers is set to become the starter opposite Matthews, which will put Perry into a backup role starting in Week 1.
Along with Peppers, Perry is going to get competition from Mike Neal and undrafted free agent Adrian Hubbard. Neal showed signs of progression throughout last year, which was his first year at outside linebacker.
As for Hubbard, he possesses a ton of upside as an outside linebacker. His length and athleticism could make him extremely dangerous off the edge as a pass-rushing specialist.
Simply put, the Packers have much more talent this year at Perry's position than in recent seasons.
So, Is Perry Gone?
When you combine an influx of talent with Perry's struggles to produce and stay on the field, things don't look good for the former USC player entering his third year with the team.
What's interesting is that Perry actually starting losing snaps in the final weeks of the 2013 season. He went from 40 snaps in Week 13 to 33 in Week 14, according to Pro Football Focus (paid link). Week 15 saw his snaps decline down to 27 followed by 22 snaps in Week 16.
His season hit an ultimate low when he only played 12 snaps in Week 17, the most important game of the whole season for the Packers. The fact that Perry starting losing playing time last year is not a good sign for this year.
Unless Perry absolutely blows away coaches during training camp, don't be surprised if the Packers and Perry part ways before the start of the 2014 regular season.
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