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Seahawks host former Packers OLB Nick Perry on free agent visit

The former first-round pick could be headed to a conference rival.

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On March 12th, the day before free agency officially opened for the 2019 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers released outside linebacker Nick Perry. The seven-year veteran was coming off arguably his most disappointing season from a pass-rushing perspective, as he recorded a career-low 1.5 sacks and just three additional quarterback hits in 2018.

Earlier that same day, the Packers had agreed to terms on contracts with free agent pass-rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, necessitating the separation from the former 2012 first-round pick. As a result, the Packers ate over $10 million in dead salary cap money for 2019 to move on from Perry, gaining a little over $3 million in cap space as a result of the move.

Now, after more than two weeks on the open market, Perry is finally starting to draw some interest from teams looking to bolster their pass rush groups. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Perry is in Seattle on Thursday to take a free agent visit with the Seahawks.

Seattle already signed up to pay a large sum of money to a pass-rusher this offseason, using the franchise tag on defensive end Frank Clark. That tag would pay him $17.1 million for 2019 if he signs his tender, though the Seahawks are still free to negotiate a long-term contract with him until July.

While Clark led the Seahawks with 13 sacks and the team saw defensive tackle Jarran Reed explode with 10.5 sacks of his own, they got precious little pass-rush from the other edge position opposite Clark. The rest of the defensive ends on the roster combined for just 6.5 sacks, while the entire team got only 16.5 sacks from all players not named Clark or Reed.

Enter Perry as an option. Before his abysmal 2018, Perry had 18 combined sacks in 26 games over the 2016 and 2017 seasons. If healthy and motivated, Perry could be a good fit as a rotational pass-rusher who could rotate in with Clark or with Quinton Jefferson on the opposite side.

Interestingly, Perry had one of his better games against the Seahawks early in 2017 at Lambeau Field. In that week-one contest, he recorded 1.5 sacks on Russell Wilson. He has 2.5 sacks and 17 tackles in five career games against Seattle (including playoffs).