Packers protect themselves with Perry contract

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry, left, celebrates his sack of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder with Datone Jones in the first quarter.

Nick Perry has a million reasons to stay on the field this season.

That’s because a fifth of the one-year, $5 million contract that the fifth-year outside linebacker signed with the Green Bay Packers last week is tied up in per-game roster bonuses, according to contract numbers filed to the NFLPA on Monday.

Perry received a $2.3 million base salary, $1.5 million signing bonus, $200,000 workout bonus and can earn up to $250,000 based on playing-time incentives. While Perry’s contract has yet to be reflected in the NFLPA database, he’ll likely count for $4.875 million in 2016 with $125,000 of his per-game roster bonuses deemed unlikely to be earned since he missed two games last season.

The key in Perry’s contract is the per-game bonuses – a team-high $62,500 for every game he’s active next season. The former first-round pick has missed 18 regular-season games in each of his first four NFL seasons and has yet to navigate a full season without having to sit out at least one game due to injury.

Perry’s $1 million in per-game bonuses currently are the most on the team, surpassing defensive lineman Letroy Guion ($800,000), quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($600,000) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga ($550,000).

The Packers worked similar language into the one-year contract that defensive tackle B.J. Raji signed with the team last offseason. Raji, who had $1 million tied in per-game bonuses, played in all but one game last season.

The structure of the contract protects the Packers in case Perry succumbs to a season-altering injury. His history of shoulder, knee, wrist and ankle injuries undoubtedly played into Perry returning to Green Bay in hopes of showing he can stay healthy and live up to his pre-draft promise.

Perry had 31 tackles, 3½ sacks and one forced fumble in 14 games this past season as a rotational edge rusher behind Julius Peppers and Mike Neal. He sustained a shoulder injury in Week 5 against St. Louis that caused him to miss two games. He went without a sack in the other nine he played in to finish the regular season.

The Packers, who aren’t flush with cap space, still agreed to assume a sizable hit for next season in large part after he recorded eight tackles, 3½ sacks and a forced fumble in two playoff games.

While Perry stays, the Packers lost backup quarterback Scott Tolzien to Indianapolis on Friday. According to USA Today, Tolzien agreed to a two-year, $3.5 million contract that included a $500,000 signing bonus.

A year ago, Tolzien agreed to a one-year, $1.35 million deal that included a $100,000 signing bonus to serve as Aaron Rodgers’ primary backup.

Perry’s contract


Cash value: $5 million

Signing bonus: $1.5 million

Base salary: $2.3 million

Roster bonuses: Up to $1 million ($62,500 per game active)

Workout bonus: $200,000

*Can earn up to an additional $250,000 if he hits playing-time incentives that currently as considered not likely to be earned for salary-cap reasons.

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