Nick Perry Released by Packers After Reported Za'Darius, Preston Smith Signings

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 12, 2019

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Nick Perry #53 of the Green Bay Packers walks off the field after being injured in the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Linebacker Nick Perry will be a free agent after the Green Bay Packers released him Tuesday.

The Packers announced their decision to part ways with the 28-year-old after seven seasons.

Green Bay Packers @packers

Thank you, Nick. https://t.co/bRjIbmVpvB

Green Bay has spent the early free-agent negotiating period upgrading its linebacker corps. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the team is expected to sign Za'Darius Smith after the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. ESPN's Rob Demovsky added Preston Smith is expected to join Green Bay as well.

Perry was the Packers' first-round pick in 2012 at No. 28 overall. He won a starting job out of training camp as a rookie, but his season was cut short after six games because of a wrist injury that required surgery. 

Injuries have been a common occurrence for Perry throughout his NFL career. The former USC star has never played a full 16-game schedule. 

The Packers were unable to wait for him to prove he can stay healthy after he missed 11 games over the past two seasons. He was set to count $14.4 million against their 2019 cap, the second-highest on the team after Aaron Rodgers ($26.5 million). 

Per Pro Football Focus' Luke Eagleton, Perry ranked 100th among edge-rushers after playing his final game of the season on Nov. 11 against the Miami Dolphins

Luke Eagleton @Eagleton_Luke

Kyler Fackrell ranks 39 on PFF among edge defenders. 43 spots ahead of (82)Reggie Gilbert. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry rank 89 and 100 respectively. Combined salary hit from Frackrell and Gilbert: $1,317,012. Matthews and Perry: $22,087,500

Despite those struggles on the field last year and a mounting list of injuries, Perry has the potential to be a solid under-the-radar investment for a team this offseason. He is still capable of being an impact defender after recording 18 sacks over 26 games in 2016 and 2017.       

Perry is still at an age in which he can be a valuable contributor in a defensive rotation. His next team will have to maximize his potential by designing pass-rushing plays to emphasize his strengths while limiting his snaps to lessen the risk of injury.