Denzel Perryman

Texans LB Denzel Perryman’s Suspension Reduced On Appeal

NOVEMBER 15: Perryman did, in fact, opt to appeal the three-game suspension he was handed yesterday. According to NFL senior vice president of football & international communications Michael Signora, Perryman’s appeal was successful, and his ban has been reduced from three games to two. The decision was handed down by James Thrash, a hearing officer appointed by joint decision of both the NFL and the NFL Players Association. He will now be eligible to return in time for the Texans’ Week 13 matchup with the Broncos.

NOVEMBER 14: Denzel Perryman drew an unnecessary roughness flag for lowering his head to make a hit during Houston’s Week 10 win. The Texans will be without the veteran linebacker for a short stretch as a result.

Perryman was issued a three-game suspension by the NFL on Tuesday. Sunday’s infraction marked the seventh time he was flagged for a use of helmet foul this season, and the accumulation of such penalties has escalated to a ban. Perryman had been fined over $66K in Week 2 for lowering his head, but today’s news will incur a larger financial penalty.

The 30-year-old has the option to appeal the suspension, a process which could result in the ban being reduced. That ended up being the case for Broncos safety Kareem Jackson earlier this year, as he appealed a four-game suspension for an accumulation of unnecessary roughness penalties. Jackson managed to have his absence reduced to a pair of contests. Perryman will likely look to do the same in the coming days.

After spending his first eight years in the AFC West, Perryman signed a one-year deal in free agency to join the rebuilding Texans. The low-cost deal allowed him to reunite with former Raiders teammate Cory Littleton as a member of Houston’s re-worked front seven, though the latter has bounced on and off the Texans’ roster throughout the year. Perryman has posted 41 tackles in six games while logging a 72% snap share.

Houston will thus be in need of a starting-caliber replacement for however long Perryman is sidelined. Fifth-round rookie Henry To’oTo’o has already established himself as a first-teamer at the LB spot by leading the team in tackles, and Littleton could see usage on defense (as opposed to special teams) with an open spot in the lineup. The Texans – currently ranked eighth in the league against the run – also have the likes of Blake Cashman, Christian Harris and Neville Hewitt available to fill in for Perryman.

Texans To Retain LB Cory Littleton, RB Mike Boone

AUGUST 30: While Kirksey has a deal lined up to join the Bills’ taxi squad, the same is not true of Littleton. The latter is remaining in Houston on the team’s 53-man roster, Wilson reports. Littleton has re-signed with the same terms he originally agreed to; that will allow him to max out his 2023 earnings at $2.7MM.

The same release-and-re-sign move has been employed with running back Mike Boone, Wilson adds. Boone will carry on under the terms of the two-year, $3.1MM pact he signed this offseason.

AUGUST 29: Multiple veteran linebackers are receiving their walking papers from the Texans this week. Following the Christian Kirksey cut, the Texans are releasing Cory Littleton, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets.

Littleton joined Denzel Perryman in signing with the team in March. Even without Kirksey, the Texans’ roster includes a number of notable linebackers. Christian Harris, a 2022 third-round pick, joins veterans Blake Cashman and Neville Hewitt. The latter, a special-teamer, re-signed this offseason. The team also drafted Alabama’s Henry To’oTo’o in the fifth round.

Big on midlevel veteran additions and short-term contracts under GM Nick Caserio, Houston added Littleton on a one-year, $2.2MM deal. The former Rams, Raiders and Panthers defender received $600K guaranteed, representing the dead money set to come from this release. The Texans are retooling on defense once again, returning to a 4-3 scheme under HC DeMeco Ryans. This has led to some offseason adjustments.

Perryman and Cashman are listed as starters in Houston, Wilson adds. Littleton, 29, has been unable to stick around with a team since his productive Rams tenure ended. Still in their all-in mode when Littleton’s free agency year transpired, the Rams let the starting linebacker walk in 2019. While the Raiders gave Littleton a nice contract (three years, $35.25MM), they restructured it a few times and shed it from their payroll — via a post-June 1 cut — last year. Littleton caught on with the Panthers but only started seven of the 15 games he played last season.

AFC South Rumors: Titans, Rader, Perryman

The tight ends room in Tennessee is going to look very different from recent years, according to Titans senior writer/editor Jim Wyatt. In addition to a new instructor, as former running backs coach Tony Dews takes over the position coaching duties, some main contributors from the past few years are no longer present.

With Austin Hooper and Geoff Swaim both hitting the free agent market this past spring, second-year tight end Chig Okonkwo has inherited a massive leading role. Okonkwo already put himself on the map as a rookie, outgaining Hooper with 450 receiving yards, good for second on the team. His three receiving touchdowns led all tight ends in Tennessee last year and were also good for second on the team. Already expected to take a step forward in 2023, he’ll receive a lot more targets with Hooper now in Las Vegas. Swaim, the team’s former primary blocking tight end, was also not re-signed, so the Titans will be looking for Okonkwo to step up as a blocker, as well.

Behind Okonkwo, the team signed Trevon Wesco, who has served as a backup tight end and special teamer for the Jets and Bears, previously. They also drafted Josh Whyle out of Cincinnati in the fifth round this year. Both should provide a bit of depth behind Okonkwo, and while Whyle was a strong redzone target for the Bearcats in college, neither tight end threatens to take many snaps away from Okonkwo.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the AFC South:

  • The Titans have been known to respect the tight end position and are certainly a candidate to keep four on the roster. With Okonkwo, Wesco, and Whyle likely safely on the 53-man roster, who might end up snagging that last roster spot? The likeliest pick would be Kevin Rader who started two games in 14 appearances for the Titans last year. He didn’t record any offensive stats in 2022, but he was a strong special teams contributor and a solid extra blocker on the line. His competition for the potential roster spot will be former XFL player Alize Mack, Justin Rigg, whom they signed to a reserve/futures contract at the end of last season, and Thomas Odukoya, the team’s International Pathway program addition from the Netherlands.
  • After two strong years with the Raiders, veteran linebacker Denzel Perryman landed with the Texans. Only a year removed from a Pro Bowl season, it was a bit of a surprise to see his newest contract only amount to a $2.6MM base salary. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Perryman expected a much bigger free agent market for himself before settling for his deal in Houston. The Raiders ended up replacing him with Robert Spillane, a former backup in Pittsburgh, paying Spillane with a two-year contract that has a $3.5MM average. So, why the disappointing return for Perryman? Perryman is an all-around better linebacker than Spillane, but he’s older and has missed at least five games in three of the last six years. Perryman’s new contract includes a $900K incentive based on playing time that would end up paying out $3.5MM if he can stay healthy.

Texans Notes: Green, Perryman, Griffin, Staff

The Texans received updates on two injury situations with the potential to bleed over into training camp, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. It looks like Houston will see a defender back at full-speed, while an offensive starter may have a bit further to go.

Firstly, Wilson reported that free agent addition Denzel Perryman is nearly back to full-strength after recovering from labrum shoulder surgery. The former Raiders linebacker missed games last year with a dislocated shoulder before ultimately undergoing the procedure. The 30-year-old has graded out as a top-30 linebacker in each of his two years in Las Vegas, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He’s projected to start beside Christian Kirksey and Christian Harris in 2023.

On the offensive side of the ball, last year’s rookie starter at offensive guard, Kenyon Green, is still making his way back from an arthroscopic knee surgery that he underwent this offseason. New head coach DeMeco Ryans was noncommittal on when Green would return“We’ll see where Kenyon is come training camp,” Ryans told reporters. “For Kenyon, he has to be ready to go, and the work he puts in over the next few weeks will see if he’s ready and ready to go out and compete.”

Here are a few other rumors coming out of H-Town:

  • The Texans were recently able to add free agent cornerback Shaquill Griffin to their secondary. According to another report from Wilson, Houston wasn’t the only team with interest in the veteran corner. Griffin claims that along with his former team in Jacksonville and his new team in Houston, he felt interest from the Vikings and Commanders. He only made one visit, but his trip to Texas was enough to sell him on the team’s scheme and “energy.”
  • Houston was recently able to reach an agreement to extend defensive tackle Maliek Collins to a new two-year, $23MM deal with a reported $20MM of guaranteed money. Recent updates adjust the latter number slightly. Collins was actually guaranteed $20.5MM, consisting of a $10.5MM signing bonus, Collins’s 2023 base salary of $2MM, and his 2024 base salary of $8MM. His contract will also include a per game active bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500k.
  • Lastly, there was a bit of a shakeup in the Texans’ front office last weekend. According to Wilson, former chief of staff Nick Kray is no longer with the organization. Kray came over with Ryans from the same position in San Francisco when Ryans took the head coaching gig in Houston. Since his departure, assistant to the coaches Jake Olson has taken over Kray’s duties. Olson was recently added to the staff after stints as Kent State director of football operations and Yale chief of staff.

Contract Details: Hurts, Robinson, Ward, Perryman, Anderson

Here are some details on deals signed recently around the NFL:

  • Jalen Hurts, QB (Eagles): Five years, $255MM. We had received some broad numbers from the deal, and some details still elude us, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided some cap numbers recently. Hurts will represent a $6.15MM cap hit in 2023, $13.56MM in 2024, $21.77MM in 2025, and $31.77MM in 2026.
  • Allen Robinson, WR (Steelers): Three years, $46.5MM. We covered some details, like how the Rams will pay most of Robinson’s 2023 salary in a nearly two-to-one split. According to Jason Fitzgerald of, the Rams will additionally take on $21.45MM of dead money for Robinson moving forward, pushing them up to about $74MM of dead cap in 2023.
  • Jimmie Ward, S (Texans): Two years, $13MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $8.5MM consisting of a $4MM signing bonus, Ward’s 2023 base salary of $2.5MM, and $2MM of his 2024 base salary (worth $5.5MM total). Ward will receive a per game active roster bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. The contract also includes an annual playing time incentive. If Ward plays 60% of the team’s defensive snaps, he’ll receive an additional $250,000. He’ll get two more $250,000 bonuses for reaching both the 70% and 80% snap share totals, as well.
  • Denzel Perryman, LB (Texans): One year, $2.6MM. We were aware that Perryman could push the value of his deal to $3.5MM with incentives, but thanks to Wilson, we now know how he can do that. The additional $900,000 is based on playing time. Perryman can earn $300,000 bonuses for reaching each of the 60%, 70% and 80% thresholds of defensive snap shares for the Texans.
  • Eric Rowe, S (Panthers): One year, $1.32MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $852,500 consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $700,000 of Rowe’s base salary (worth a total of $1.17MM).
  • Kris Boyd, CB (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Dante Pettis, WR (Bears): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Troy Reeder, LB (Vikings): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $100,000 consisting partially of a $25,000 signing bonus. Reeder’s base salary will be $1.08MM, and he can receive an additional workout bonus $25,000 and a roster bonus of $102,500 if he’s active Week 1. The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $6,029 for a potential season total of $102,500.
  • Drew Sample, TE (Bengals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $52,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM. Sample will also receive a roster bonus of $75,000 and a workout bonus of $25,000.
  • Armon Watts, DT (Steelers): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Elijah Wilkinson, OL (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $1.09MM consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $940,000 of Wilkinson’s base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM).
  • Khadarel Hodge, WR (Falcons): One year, $1.2MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a base salary of $1.08 and a roster bonus of $120,000 if he is active for Atlanta’s first game of the season. The deal also includes a per game active roster bonus of $7,500 for a potential season total of $127,500.
  • Chosen Anderson, WR (Dolphins): One year, $1.17MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500.
  • John Penisini, DL (Panthers): One year, $940,000, according to Wilson.
  • Kevin Jarvis, OL (Bills): One year, $750,000, according to Wilson.

Texans, LB Denzel Perryman Agree To Deal

MARCH 23: Wilson tweets that Perryman’s deal is one year in length, and has a value of $3.5MM. He, along with Littleton, will provide short-term experience at the second level of the Texans’ new-look defense while aiming to boost his value ahead of next offseason.

MARCH 22: The Texans’ visit with Denzel Perryman will end up producing an agreement. Even after adding Cory Littleton, the Texans will bring in Perryman, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets.

Drawing interest from the Texans and Titans, Perryman will follow Littleton to Houston. A former Chargers second-round pick, Perryman spent the past two seasons as a Raiders regular. The 30-year-old defender agreed to a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of tweets. He will reunite with his 2021 Raiders teammate, Littleton, in DeMeco Ryans‘ defense.

GM Nick Caserio has continued to go to the midlevel veteran well, handing out a slew of short-term contracts to experienced players during his Houston stay. At linebacker alone, Perryman will join Littleton, Christian Kirksey and Blake Cashman among the veteran options alongside 2022 third-round pick Christian Harris.

Perryman’s Texans visit lasted two days, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes, and he has been a target since free agency’s outset. More rumors connected Perryman to Houston compared to Littleton, despite the latter having signed sooner. The Texans ranked last in run defense in 2022. While teams have questioned Perryman’s coverage chops, he is one of the better run-defending linebackers. He finished with a career-high 154 tackles in 2021 and posted a career-best 14 tackles for loss last season.

Some mutual interest existed between Perryman and the Raiders, but the team brought him in via trade (from the Panthers) during Jon Gruden‘s final season in charge. Ex-Chargers DC Gus Bradley put Perryman to work in 2021, using him on 83% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps. That number dropped to 70% under DC Patrick Graham last season, but considering Perryman’s usage rate had dipped well below 50% during his final two Bolts seasons, his Raiders run certainly qualifies as a bounce-back stretch.

Pro Football Focus concurred, slotting Perryman as a top-30 linebacker in each of the past two years. PFF ranked him 19th in 2022, despite the Raiders’ defense regressing. The ex-Miami Hurricane will attempt to help a Houston defense bounce back after four consecutive seasons ranking in the bottom five in yards yielded.

Texans, Titans Pursuing LB Denzel Perryman

MARCH 16: Perryman is meeting with the Texans on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of tweets. The former Chargers, Panthers (sort of) and Raiders linebacker is looking to find a home for a ninth NFL season.

MARCH 15: This year’s crowded inside linebacker market has produced one big contract (the Bears’ Tremaine Edmunds pact) and a host of mid- or low-level agreements. While the legal tampering period has taken many off-ball ‘backers off the board, a few key names remain.

Denzel Perryman is one of the top options left, and he may end up deciding between two AFC South suitors. The Texans and Titans have shown interest in the veteran linebacker, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports.

Perryman hit free agency after two seasons with the Raiders. While those slates helped re-establish the former Chargers draftee’s value, his profile as a run-stopping linebacker — as opposed to a true three-down player with plus coverage skills — will impact his market. The 30-year-old defender logged a 70% defensive snap share last season. Pro Football Focus graded Perryman as a top-12 linebacker against the run, propelling him to a top-20 overall assessment.

The Panthers gave Perryman a multiyear deal in 2021, but he never ended up playing for them after a preseason trade to the Raiders. Gus Bradley, Perryman’s primary DC with the Chargers, put the former second-round pick to work quickly, using him on 83% of the Raiders’ defensive plays that season. Perryman finished the year with 154 tackles — far and away a career-high total — and helped Las Vegas rally to the playoffs despite a turbulent season.

The Raiders showed interest in a Perryman extension before the season, but nothing came to pass. They did circle back last month, though there is a real risk he departs now. The Titans have lost starters David Long and Zach Cunningham, though GM Ran Carthon is reuniting with ex-49er Azeez Al-Shaair. The Texans, who were also linked to Al-Shaair due to his DeMeco Ryans connection, but have not made a move at linebacker yet during the tampering period.

Houston has also shown interest in Mack Wilson, per Aaron Wilson. Mack Wilson spent last season with the Patriots, having been traded straight up for Chase Winovich, but logged 28 starts with the Browns from 2019-21. Houston is also interested in defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, Wilson adds, while also being in on centers Garrett Bradbury, Ethan Pocic and Jake Brendel, the latter of whom having ties to a few Texans coaches. But the center market has largely led to retention thus far. Bradbury, Brendel and Pocic have returned to their respective teams (Vikings, 49ers, Browns). The Texans are believed to be interested in former Lions center Evan Brown, however. The Detroit center/guard option has not signed anywhere yet; Brown has started 24 games over the past two seasons.

The Jets are trying to bring back Rankins, who has played for the team for the past two years. The Texans’ center interest stems from the team cutting Justin Britt, its two-year pivot starter. Britt is planning to retire.

Raiders Want To Keep LB Denzel Perryman

Not much went according to plan for the Raiders in 2022, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. That will no doubt lead to several changes being made this offseason, but one veteran presence could find himself staying in Las Vegas.

Linebacker Denzel Perryman finished out his existing contract in 2022, after a summer which included talks of an extension being signed. He made it clear in July that he was aiming for a new deal, an understandable stance after he enjoyed a career-year in 2021. His 154 tackles helped him earn a Pro Bowl nod, and set him up for another season as a full-time starter this year.

In 2022, the 30-year-old was once again a mainstay in the middle of the Raiders’ defense, though he saw a downtick in usage. Perryman’s snap share dropped to 70%, down from 84% in his debut season with the Silver and Black. He made 83 stops and added one sack and 14 tackles for loss before missing the end of the regular season with a dislocated shoulder. Those numbers earned him a PFF grade of 74.2, the third-highest of his career. He graded out as a top-20 linebacker for the first time, in large part due to his strength as a run-stopper.

They could also put the former second-rounder in line for a new Raiders pact. Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes that the team “would like him back, provided it makes sense financially.” Perryman had a base salary of $1.12MM last year, and carried a cap hit of just over $3MM. Given his production during his two years in Vegas, he could command much larger numbers than that on the open market, if he makes it to free agency next month.

The Raiders now have the third-most cap space in the league after releasing quarterback Derek Carr, so they have the flexibility to keep Perryman in the fold if they wish to do so. Vegas also has a number of other pending UFAs at the second level of their defense, including Jayon Brown and Micah Kiser. While that leaves the team with the option of looking elsewhere in free agency and the draft, it would come as little surprise if they re-upped Perryman in the near future.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/28/22

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders 

Raiders’ Chandler Jones, Denzel Perryman Likely To Be Shut Down

The Raiders suffered another underwhelming loss on Christmas Eve, which essentially ended any hope the team had of making a late push into the playoffs. Their defense is also set to be shorthanded for the final two weeks of the campaign.

Pass rusher Chandler Jones and linebacker Denzel Perryman each exited Vegas’ loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the former suffered an elbow injury, while the latter has a dislocated shoulder (Twitter link). As a result, it would come as little surprise if both players were to be shut down until the 2023 season.

Head coach Josh McDaniels suggested as much when speaking to the media (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Tashan Reed). The news, in all likelihood, marks a disappointing end to a season in which nothing has gone according to plan for a Raiders team which had significant expectations after their eventful offseason. The team sits at 6-9 thanks in large part to a number of blown double-digit leads and their below-average ranking in several major defensive categories.

Jones was a key reason the Raiders’ pass rush was predicted to take a step forward. The four-time Pro Bowler was a free agent target of the Bills before they ultimately landed Von Miller. Jones signed in Vegas on a three-year, $52.5MM contract in March, allowing the team to pair him Maxx Crosby – who himself signed a massive extension days earlier. Even in the latter stages of his career, Jones, 32, was tapped for a productive stint with his new team operating as a compliment to the latter.

Instead, Jones has not lived up to the expectations brought on by his pedigree and new deal. With the exception of a three-sack performance against the Chargers in Week 13, the former Patriot and Cardinal has been ineffective in rushing the passer. Jones sits at 4.5 sacks and 19 QB pressures on the year, figures which fall well short of what he produced last season in Arizona.

Perryman has, on the other hand, remained a consistent presence in the middle of the Raiders’ defense in 2022, his second season with the team. He put himself on the radar for a new deal last year when he totaled 154 tackles en route to earning Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his career. His 83 stops in 2022 (including a career-high 14 for loss) lead the team, whose run defense has fared better than their play against the pass.

A very narrow path to the postseason still remains for the Raiders to make the playoffs; it includes winning the team’s final two contests against the 49ers and Chiefs. Doing so will require improved play on offense relative to their last outing, but also on defense with an undermanned unit.