Packers decline Perry's 5th-year option

Pete Dougherty
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Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

The Green Bay Packers did not pick up the fifth-year option for 2016 on outside linebacker Nick Perry, an NFL source confirmed.

The decision means Perry will be in the final year of his contract this season and a free agent next spring. The NFL's collective bargaining agreement from 2011 gives teams a fifth-year option on the contracts of their first-round draft picks, and teams had until Sunday night to exercise the option for their 2012 first-rounders.

Perry's option would have been for $7.75 million. Instead, he'll make $1.413 million in the final year of his rookie contract in 2015. Depending on how much Clay Matthews plays at inside linebacker, Perry is expected to share playing time with Mike Neal at outside linebacker opposite Julius Peppers.

When the Packers drafted Perry 28th overall, they hoped he could complement Matthews at outside linebacker. So far, he's seen most of his snaps as a rotational rusher with 68 tackles and nine sacks in 32 games (15 starts).

The Packers are one of only five teams that have yet to use the provision in its first two years, along with Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Seattle and New Orleans.

Madsen cut

The Packers started making room for undrafted free agents Monday when they released center Joe Madsen, a former teammate of reserve offensive lineman Don Barclay at West Virginia.

Madsen, who cleared waivers Tuesday, was signed to Green Bay's practice squad on Jan. 3 and spent the rest of the postseason there.

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