GREEN BAY, Wis. — If you thought re-signing Jayrone Elliott was just to fill out the 90-man offseason roster, his contract confirmed differently.
The fourth-year outside linebacker will indeed be part of their plans for 2017.
That seemed to be in question when the Green Bay Packers decided not to tender him as a restricted free agent, leaving him free to sign with any team. The lowest RFA tender would have cost the Packers $1.797 million. That would have given the Packers the right of first refusal to match any offer Elliott received, although they would not get any compensation had they not matched it.
Elliott ended up receiving a better deal because he got some guaranteed money — $350,000 in the form of a signing bonus — in the one-year, $1.6 million deal he signed last week after he visited the Bills and Steelers.
For most of his first three seasons, Elliott has been buried on the outside linebacker depth chart. He’s made his biggest contributions on special teams. But in a small sample size, especially the past two seasons, there is evidence he should take on a larger role as a pass-rusher.
Although he has just four sacks over the past two seasons combined (one in 2016 and three in 2015), they have come on just 310 snaps, including playoffs. That works out to a sack every 77.5 snaps. That’s on par with Julius Peppers’ mark of one sack every 75.1 snaps over the past two seasons and far exceeds Clay Matthews (one for every 127.4 snaps) and Datone Jones (one for every 264.5 snaps). By comparison, Nick Perry, who was re-signed to a five-year, $60 million deal by the Packers, had one sack for every 58.3 snaps he played the past two seasons.
With Peppers and Jones gone, having signed with the Panthers and Vikings, respectively, it could benefit Elliott.
Here’s how Elliott’s contract breaks down:
Cash value: $1.6 million
Salary-cap charge: $1,521,875 (it’s lower than the cash value because the weekly roster bonus charge is based on the 11 games he played in last season).
Signing bonus: $350,000
Weekly roster bonus: Up to $250,000 ($15,625 per game active)
Workout bonus: $50,000
Base salary: $950,000