When the dust had cleared from a wild day one in NFL unrestricted free agency, the Packers had signed the number one edge pass rusher available, Nick Perry. The five-year pro was highly sought after in a market thin on pass rushing talent, but he ultimately agreed on a 5-year, $59 million deal with the Packers. The deal includes an $18.5 million signing bonus, and $18.5 million in guaranteed money.
Perhaps the best comparison to Perry’s deal is the 5-year, $57.5 million one Ryan Kerrigan took in 2015 to re-up with the Washington Redskins. Kerrigan, like Perry, was 26 years old and coming off the only career double-digit sack season of his career at the time. That deal had a $16 million signing bonus and $23.8 million in guaranteed money. With the premium being placed on edge rushers in the league today, the Packers successfully retained Perry for a deal that appears to be well within market value.
A couple other notable Packers free agents signed with other teams and will not be suiting up in Green and Gold next season. Micah Hyde did very well for himself financially, securing a 5-year, $30.5 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. Although many will lament the loss of Hyde in an already beleaguered secondary, this was far more than the Packers could or should have paid to retain him. According to a tweet by Hyde, the Packers did not even extend an offer, perhaps due to the high asking price given the deal he settled on with Buffalo. To put that money into perspective, Hyde is now making more than Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward (three-time Pro Bowler), and comparable to the Ravens’ Eric Weddle (four-time Pro Bowler).
The Bills also had five safeties up for contract going into free agency, so clearly they had the cap and roster space to reinvent themselves at the position. Hyde would have remained a slot corner or third safety with Green Bay, and was simply not worth six million dollars a year in that role.
Another day one departure was center J.C. Tretter, who signed a 3-year, $16.75 million deal with a $4.5 million signing bonus and $10 million in guaranteed money to go to the Cleveland Browns. As pointed out in my way too early look at 2018 free agents column, Thompson was effectively saying with this move that he would rather focus his efforts on re-signing Corey Linsley next year. Linsley appears to be the player the coaching staff liked more when both were healthy, and if anyone was getting re-signed, it would likely be him. The Packers will have a starting quality center in 2017 barring unforeseen injury, and Tretter becomes the tenth highest paid center in the league for the time being, as former Jet Nick Mangold awaits what should be a significant deal as well.
In a final day one splash for Green Bay, Don Barclay was re-signed on a 1-year, $1.3 million deal to maintain his role as depth in protecting Aaron Rodgers. The 1-year length does create a bit of a logjam on the offensive line for next season, as guard Lane Taylor, Linsley and Barclay will all be looking for new deals. Barclay figures to be the cheapest option of the three, so he may get some work as an interior lineman in camp to prepare him for a position change if either Taylor or Linsley depart next season.
Day one of NFL Free Agency can be a whirlwind of overpaying for players that will never live up to their contracts. Although it can be fun to see your team bring in a difference-maker, sometimes the best move is the one you do not make.
Do you like the Perry re-signing? Was there anyone signed in day one you wish the Packers would have signed? Let me know in the comments.
——————Zac Bellman is a sports writer, experienced journalist and Marquette University graduate with a degree in journalism. You can read his current articles here on PackersTalk.com. To connect with Zac, follow him on twitter at @ZacBellman_WNY. or check out his Facebook page Zac Bellman-Sportwriter