Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Perry is coming off the best season of his NFL career. He recorded 11 sacks for the team, which was a career high for him. It was fortunate too, as he signed a one-year deal last season, making him a free agent seemingly entering the prime of his career. He shouldn't be returning to Green Bay, though.

Nobody should disparage the contributions Perry made to the Packers in 2016. 11 sacks is no joke and the team's pass rush would have gone nowhere without the outside linebacker wreaking havoc in the backfields of their opponents. He also recorded 52 combined tackles and an interception, making his mark all over the field.

It's just impossible to imagine he will be able to repeat his level of production in the future. During his first four seasons, Perry had 12.5 sacks combined. The Packers didn't pick up his option for the previous season because he had failed to show that his level of play warranted his contract as it stood. They signed him to a one-year, "prove it" deal. He did manage to prove himself, but now another team can overpay for his services going forward.

Linebacker market

Perry will catch on with a team when free agency begins in two weeks and he won't come cheap. Some analysts are pitting his value around $10.6 million per year for around five years, as he'll look to be paid around $45 million over the course of a contract.

The Dallas Cowboys seem like a logical contender to outbid the Packers for his services.

That'll work out just fine for the Packers. While they'll miss this year's version of Nick Perry, their money needs to be spent on other priorities to make a run beyond the NFC Championship Game next season. Julius Peppers could be re-signed on the cheap to serve as a situational pass rusher.

Meanwhile, the inside linebacker and cornerback sports have been more troubling for the team in recent years and should be addressed in either free agency or the NFL Draft. Perry's five years in Green Bay were fun, but the future is brighter for both in separate spheres.

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