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Jake Ryan earns 'proven performance' raise but still has plenty to prove

Jake Ryan stands to earn $1.905 million this season if makes the team out of training camp. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers still might not be sold on whether Jake Ryan is the answer at inside linebacker, and it will cost them more money to find out if he is in 2018.

Ryan qualified for a “proven performance escalator” which will increase his salary this season by $1.2 million.

Because Ryan played in at least 35 percent of the snaps in at least two of his first three seasons, his salary spiked to $1.905 million, according to NFL Players Association records. Ryan had been scheduled to make $705,000 in the final season of his rookie deal. The salary is not guaranteed. He would have to make the team coming out of training camp (or go on injured reserve) in order to collect it.

The PPE was a provision in the rookie wage scale that was added to the collective bargaining agreement in 2011. It is available to players drafted in Rounds 3-7 and comes in the final year of the contract if they play at least 35 percent of the offensive or defensive snaps in two of their first three seasons or 35 percent of all offensive or defensive snaps over the entire first three years.

Ryan, however, is the only Packers player from the 2015 draft class to qualify for the 2018 raise. Third-round pick Ty Montgomery topped the 35 percent mark in only one of his three seasons. The same goes for fifth-round pick Brett Hundley. Sixth-round pick Aaron Ripkowski has never taken 35 percent of the snaps in any of his three seasons.

The two-two picks, cornerbacks Damarious Randall (first round) and Quinten Rollins (second round), are not eligible for the PPE.

Ryan finished second on the team in tackles this past season to fellow inside linebacker Blake Martinez, who tied for the league lead in that category.

New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine suggested that he would be open to moving around Clay Matthews, who played almost exclusively at outside linebacker last season but might be more effective next season, when he will be 32 years old, if he played inside. Pettine's predecessor, Dom Capers, also used a safety (either Morgan Burnett or Josh Jones) as an inside linebacker at times this past season, so Pettine will have options if he doesn't want to use the pairing of Martinez and Ryan.

Last year, two players from the Packers’ 2014 draft class earned the PPE bonus -- center Corey Linsley and tight end Richard Rodgers. Linsley parlayed that into a three-year, $25.5 million contract extension last month, while Rodgers is schedule to become a free agent in March.

Previously, left tackle David Bakhtiari (2013 class), safety Micah Hyde (2013) and defensive tackle Mike Daniels (2012) earned the PPE bonus. Bakhtiari and Daniels both received contract extensions during their fourth seasons. Hyde left in free agency following the 2016 season.