Denzel Perryman

AFC Injury Updates: Bills, Raiders, Leonard

As the Bills head to South Florida for a noon matchup against a red-hot Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins, they have seen a tough challenge get tougher. Buffalo released an injury update on its website today reporting that the team expects to be without four starters: two in the secondary, in safety Micah Hyde and cornerback Dane Jackson, and two defensive tackles, Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips. Jackson, Hyde, and Phillips all left Monday night’s game with injuries, while Oliver will miss his second straight contest.

Jackson left the game last week after a collision that forced his head backwards in a scary-looking neck injury. He was taken off the field in an ambulance, but, luckily, avoided any major injury. Unfortunately, Jackson hasn’t been able to practice at all this week but has been able to be around the team at the facilities.

Hyde also suffered a neck injury, albeit a far less severe-looking injury than Jackson’s, that held him out of practice this week. Phillips left the game Monday with a hamstring injury and also was unable to practice this week. Oliver has been dealing with an ankle injury that held him out last week, as well.

Missing three starters in the secondary (cornerback Tre’Davious White remains on injured reserve) makes the prospect of facing Tagovailoa a bit more cumbersome one week after he threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns against a banged up Ravens secondary. They’ll turn to rookies Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam to fill in at cornerback with help from veteran Bills cornerbacks Taron Johnson and Siran Neal. Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson will be asked to step up in Hyde’s absence, as well.

With both Phillips and Oliver out on the defensive line, it’s a good bet that the Bills will mirror their gameday practice squad call-ups from last week in defensive tackles C.J. Brewer and Brandin Bryant.

Here are a few more Sunday injury statuses we learned about today, starting with a couple of big starters out in Sin City:

  • The Raiders are set to face off against the Titans this weekend without two Pro Bowlers as wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and linebacker Denzel Perryman are officially out, according to Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Hill also reports that, after missing two practices with an illness, running back Josh Jacobs is questionable to play this Sunday.
  • Despite initial reports in the preseason that Colts star linebacker Shaquille Leonard would not miss any time, the 27-year-old is set to miss his third straight game after being ruled out against the Chiefs this week, according to Mike Chappell of Indianapolis Fox59. Head coach Frank Reich told the media, “Deep down it’s the player. Deep down the player has to know he can play winning football and help this team win. That’s where we’ve got to get to.”

Extension Candidate: Denzel Perryman

The Raiders have dedicated big contracts to a number of their star players over the past few years extending players like quarterback Derek Carr, defensive end Maxx Crosby, tackle Kolton Miller, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, and tight end Darren Waller while signing free agents like wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive end Chandler Jones to large salaries, as well. Luckily for them, the next potential player up for a new deal plays at one of the league’s cheaper positions. 

Physically, Denzel Perryman is a near replica of fellow Miami Hurricane alumnus Ray Lewis. Both are undersized for the linebacker position, sitting at around 6-foot tall and 240 pounds. Perryman’s playing style is that of the prototypical, old-school linebacker. He’s a thumper that is always around the ball-carrier but can struggle in some coverage situations. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked him 16th among linebackers in run defense last year and 2nd in pass rush, but his lackluster coverage grades (41st) slot him as the 26th-ranked linebacker overall.

Perryman was a second-round pick for the Chargers back in 2015. He was expected to contribute right away, despite being limited throughout camp with a hamstring injury, but quickly pushed his way into the starting lineup by Week 6 of his rookie season when starter Manti Te’o suffered an injury. Perryman started alongside Donald Butler for two weeks before sustaining an injury himself. When Te’o and Perryman both returned from injury at the same time, then-San Diego defensive coordinator John Pagano named them both starters, demoting Butler to a backup role. He started the rest of the season for the Chargers and never really let go of that starting role.

After playing out his rookie contract, the Chargers extended Perryman on a two-year, $12MM deal. During the last year of his new contract, the Chargers decided to inject some youth into the linebacking corps, drafting Kenneth Murray in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. When Perryman’s contract expired, Los Angeles decided to let him walk in free agency. Perryman’s limited usage in his final two years with the Chargers hurt his value a bit and he signed a two-year, $6MM deal with the Panthers. A little more than two weeks before the season started, though, Carolina traded Perryman to the Raiders for the 2021 season.

2021 saw a complete resurgence for the ailing linebacker. While many assumed his best days were behind him and that he was doomed to serve as a depth piece or lower-tier starter for the remainder of his career, Perryman took in his new surroundings and opportunities and made out of them the best season of his seven-year career. Last year, Perryman finished the season at sixth in the league with 154 tackles, more than doubling his previous season-high of 73 set in his rookie season. After being packaged with a seventh-round pick to be exchanged for a sixth-round pick in the Carolina-Las Vegas deal, Perryman made the first Pro Bowl of his career.

After the Pro Bowl year, Perryman now appears to be a bit underpaid as he’s set to earn just over $3MM this year. The inside linebacker position tends to run cheaper than others on the defense. The top paid players at the position (Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard, $19.7MM annual average value, and Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley, $17MM AAV) have impressive annual salaries. Behind them, though, the top players in the game average anywhere from $8MM per year (Steelers linebacker Myles Jack) to $14.5MM per year (Titans linebacker Zach Cunningham). In terms of talent and ability, Perryman absolutely falls within this range, but there are a few other aspects to a new deal that may affect the final number.

The first factor in a new contract is age. Perryman is 29-years-old this season and, while he seems to be playing the best football of his career, approaching the 30-year mark is often a harbinger of decline in play. There are plenty of exceptions to the rule at the position, though. Bobby Wagner just signed a five-year, $50MM deal to join the Rams at 31 years old. Perryman’s older doppelganger, Lewis, played well into his 30s, collecting first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl accolades as late as 34 and 36 years old, respectively. So while his age may play a factor into the length of any new deal he receives, the fact that he is playing better than he ever has previously should help in making sure his age doesn’t diminish his value.

The second factor facing Perryman’s extension efforts is injury. Injuries have long plagued the veteran’s career. In his full seven years of play, Perryman has never once appeared in every game of the season. His healthiest season came last year when he started and played in 15 games. He missed two regular season games due to an ankle injury that, later, forced him to leave the Raiders’ playoff battle against the Bengals last year. Over the course of his career, Perryman has suffered an array of injuries ranging from his ankle to his shoulder including an LCL tear in his knee, hamstring sprains, and pectoral strains. The silver-lining here, similar to above, is that he displayed a durability last year unmatched by any previous season. If he is only getting healthier, then the amount he receives should not be adjusted too much. It should be expected, though, that his injury history may affect the guaranteed amount that receives.

An extension for Perryman likely keeps him under contract for another two or three years. If the team intends to reward Perryman for his Pro Bowl production last year, his AAV could get up to $10MM. It might be a bit more likely for his contract to end up around $8MM or $9MM per year. My guess is that, if the Raiders were to decide to extend him, it would be something like a three-year, $27MM deal with a guaranteed amount of $9MM.

The Raiders didn’t invest any draft picks this year in young linebackers and the linebackers they brought in through free agency, Jayon Brown, Kenny Young, and Micah Kiser, don’t seem to be any threat to steal Perryman’s playing time. It seems like an ideal time for both sides to come to an extended agreement, then. The Raiders can secure their leader at linebacker for the next few seasons and Perryman can cash in on his newly inflated value.

Raiders LB Denzel Perryman Seeking New Contract

Much has been made this offseason about the investments the Raiders have made in adding star power to a roster which made the playoffs in 2021. While the commitments made to the likes of Davante Adams and Chandler Jones have been understandably noteworthy, another important contract could be in order soon. 

Linebacker Denzel Perryman “would like a new deal,” reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (video link). The 29-year-old helped his market tremendously with his level of play last season, his first with the Raiders. Perryman shattered his career-high in tackles with 154, a statistic which helped him earn Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his seven-year NFL tenure. The former Charger has one year remaining on his current contract, which will pay him a base salary of $1.12MM.

After the news of his request went public, the former second-rounder said “I knew that was coming. That’s why I’m sweating… My agent Ron Butler is handling that. I just want to play football” (Twitter link via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez).

This most recent news doesn’t constitute the first of the offseason regarding a re-working of Perryman’s financial situation, of course. It was reported last month that he and the Raiders were discussing a new contract, as Vegas’ new front office regime led by general manager Dave Ziegler looks to continue retaining incumbent players like receiver Hunter Renfrow.

The team could easily afford a contract which raises his $3MM cap hit for 2022, given their current financial status, though any potential Darren Waller deal could change that. Perryman would constitute a worthwhile investment if he repeats his 2021 performance, something which should be possible if he again plays a starter’s workload in the team’s new-look LB room, which features a number of offseason additions as well as a new defensive coordinator in Patrick Graham.

Raiders, Denzel Perryman Discussing Deal

Multiple teams passed on deploying Denzel Perryman in 2021. The Chargers opted not to re-sign the veteran linebacker, and the Panthers traded him just months after adding him as a free agent. Perryman found his footing again with the Raiders.

Playing a career-high 863 defensive snaps, the former second-round pick turned in his most productive season in his first Las Vegas campaign. The Raiders are changing defensive schemes again, replacing longtime Perryman coordinator Gus Bradley with Patrick Graham. But they are interested in another Perryman contract, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The sides have discussed a new deal.

[RELATED: Raiders Extend WR Hunter Renfrow]

Tied to the two-year, $6.1MM contract he signed with the Panthers, the 29-year-old linebacker is set to make just $1.1MM in base salary this season. By virtue of their designating Carl Nassib and two-year linebacker starter Cory Littleton as post-June 1 cuts, the Raiders have come into some money. Their $22.5MM in available funds currently ranks third in the NFL.

Perryman made 154 tackles last season, topping his previous career-high total (set during his rookie season in 2015) by a cool 81. The Bolts re-signed Perryman in 2019, giving him a two-year deal worth $12MM. But he mostly worked in a part-time role during that contract. Injuries played a part in Perryman’s stock slipping as a Charger, but he played a career-high 15 games last season. Pro Football Focus did not view Perryman as one of last season’s better linebackers, but the veteran second-level defender earned a Pro Bowl bid as an alternate.

The Raiders added Jayon Brown, Kenny Young and Micah Kiser at inside linebacker this offseason, largely dismantling their 2021 setup outside of Perryman. The team cut Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski and did not re-sign K.J. Wright. Perryman played for Bradley for the past five seasons, with the veteran coordinator moving from Los Angeles to Vegas last year.

The Dave ZieglerJosh McDaniels regime has not been shy about extensions for holdover players, however. The new Vegas power brokers have authorized extensions for Renfrow, Maxx Crosby and Derek Carr this offseason. Darren Waller may be on the docket, too, with Fowler indicating the Pro Bowl tight end is a priority as well. Waller will certainly cost far more to extend than Perryman.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Panthers Trade LB Denzel Perryman To Raiders

Denzel Perryman is heading west again. The Raiders and Panthers agreed to a deal Wednesday night that will send the veteran linebacker to Las Vegas, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The Panthers have announced the trade.

The former Chargers starter will return to the AFC West in a pick-swap trade, with the Panthers receiving a sixth-round pick and the Raiders acquiring Perryman and a seventh-rounder, per Schefter (on Twitter). This will represent another fresh-start attempt for Perryman and give the Raiders some help on their suddenly weakened defensive second level.

Carolina signed Perryman to a two-year, $6MM deal, guaranteeing the former second-round pick $2.99MM. The 28-year-old defender is due to earn base salaries of $990K and $1MM on this contract. The Panthers had seen Jermaine Carter perform well enough during training camp to anoint him as a starter alongside Shaq Thompson. Carter becoming Carolina’s starting middle linebacker left Perryman in limbo, a familiar position for the formerly supplanted Bolts starting inside ‘backer.

Las Vegas is currently down starter Nicholas Morrow, and Jon Gruden said the fifth-year Raider may be out a while. Backup Raiders linebacker Javin White is also on the mend, amplifying a need here. Perryman, however, has also battled injuries this year. He missed time at Panthers training camp due to a hip injury and is battling foot trouble after at teammate stepped on one of his feet this week, Joe Person of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

A bonus for Perryman’s hopes of stabilizing his career: this move will reunite him with former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, whom the Raiders hired this year. Perryman, who will follow longtime Charger teammate Casey Hayward to Vegas, showed promise early in his career with the Bolts, recording 16 tackles for loss over his first two seasons. Injuries intervened over the next two seasons, but he later signed an extension to stay in Los Angeles. Despite the six-year vet’s playing time dwindling on that second Bolts deal — down to 31% of L.A.’s defensive snaps last season — Perryman graded as one of Pro Football Focus’ top run-defending linebackers in 2020.

Panthers To Sign LB Denzel Perryman

Having seen his Chargers role reduced in recent years, Denzel Perryman will receive a fresh start in the NFC. The veteran linebacker intends to sign with the Panthers, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.

The Panthers are adding the six-year veteran on a two-year deal, Fowler adds (via Twitter). After Carolina took a low-cost swing with Tahir Whitehead to succeed Luke Kuechly last year, the team will bring in Perryman at middle linebacker.

Although the Bolts re-signed Perryman two years ago, they transitioned away from him upon trading up for Kenneth Murray in last year’s first round. While Murray experienced acclimation issues in Los Angeles as a rookie, Perryman played just 31% of the team’s defensive snaps last season. He should be expected to have a bigger role in Charlotte.

Various injuries have also plagued Perryman during his career. Hamstring and knee trouble ended his 2018 and ’19 seasons, respectively. While the 28-year-old linebacker has encountered myriad issues in his career, Pro Football Focus viewed his most recent work sample favorably. He graded as one of the top off-ball linebackers last season — a 48-tackle slate across 13 games. Perryman showed promise earlier in his career as well and will attempt to stabilize it in Carolina alongside Shaq Thompson.

Chargers LB Denzel Perryman To Test Market

Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman will hit the open market. The 28-year-old has not ruled out a return to the Bolts, but he will first look to see what other clubs have to offer, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter link).

LA’s fortunes have been undermined by injuries in recent seasons, and Perryman has certainly dealt with his fair share of health problems. He appeared in only seven games in 2017, only nine the following year, and has never played in more than 14. Even in his injury-marred campaigns, though, he generally operated as a starter. But in 2020, he was utilized in more of a rotational role, starting a career-low six contests.

Despite that, 2020 may have been one of his best seasons. He scored a terrific 83.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus — which would have been fifth-best in the entire league if he had met PFF’s snap minimum — and he demonstrated a marked improvement in his coverage abilities. Long lauded for his hard hitting and run-stuffing prowess, Perryman was more of a complete player last season, which certainly won’t hurt his value.

However, his injury history and the reduced salary cap are both working against him, and those factors could force him to accept a modest one-year pact, as many “middle class” free agents are expected to do in 2021. And with the Chargers also rostering younger players like Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill, and Kyzir White, Perryman may feel that a one-year deal on a club that will utilize him in a more prominent role will give him a better chance to make hay in 2022.

Chargers LB Denzel Perryman Restructures Contract

The Chargers have been busy today. So far they’ve franchise-tagged Hunter Henry, released Brandon Mebane and Thomas Davis, and now they’ve also adjusted a contract. 

Los Angeles agreed to a restructure with linebacker Denzel Perryman that will keep him with the team for the 2020 season, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Originally set to make a little over $6MM in the final year of his current deal, he’ll now need to hit some incentives to reach that figure, Rapoport reports. Perryman was due a $1.5MM roster bonus on the third day of the new league year, and there had been some speculation that the Chargers might move on.

The hard-hitting inside linebacker has been a big part of their defense the past handful of years when healthy, but he’s had some trouble staying on the field. He appeared in only seven games in 2017, only nine the following year, and has never played in more than 14. Linebacker has been a weak spot for the Chargers’ otherwise talented defense, and with the release of Davis it’s a position they’ll certainly be addressing further this offseason.

Perryman was drafted 48th overall out of Miami back in 2015. He also got in a bit of trouble with head coach Anthony Lynn last year, as he was sent home before the team’s game against Jacksonville after missing a team meeting.

Extra Points: Schobert, Panthers, Chargers

Joe Schobert is having one of his best NFL seasons, but the Browns haven’t reached out about signing the impending free agent. The linebacker told reporters that he hasn’t received any offers from the organization (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com on Twitter).

The former fourth-rounder earned a Pro Bowl nod back in 2017, and he’s followed that up with two additional 100-plus-tackle seasons. That includes the current 2019 campaign, as Schobert has compiled 110 tackles, two sacks, nine passes defended, four interceptions, and a pair of forced fumbles.

If the linebacker were to hit free agency, there would surely be teams lining up for his services. For what it’s worth, Schobert told reporters that in a “perfect world,” he’d be in a Cleveland uniform come 2020.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Kyle Allen has filled in admirably for Cam Newton, but it doesn’t sound like he has a solid hold on the Panthers starting gig for the rest of the season. Interim head coach Perry Fewell told reporters that the quarterback situation is a “day to day, week to week situation” (via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue on Twitter). Even if Allen doesn’t struggle, it makes sense for Carolina to see what they’ve got in rookie third-rounder Will Grier. The West Virginia product hasn’t seen the field this season, while Allen has tossed 16 touchdowns vs. 12 interceptions in his 11 games (11 starts).
  • Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said it was a “coach’s decision” to send home linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Roderic Teamer on Saturday, according to Jeff Miller of the LA Times (on Twitter). ESPN’s Eric Williams tweets that the pair missed a morning meeting in Jacksonville, all leading to Lynn’s decision. Perryman has started 11 games this season, while Teamer has appeared in seven games.
  • Cowboys safety Jeff Heath said he may need shoulder surgery to repair labrum damage (via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News on Twitter). The 28-year-old continues to play through the injury, and Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets that there’s hope Heath can avoid the procedure until the offseason. The safety has started 10 games this season, compiling 45 tackles and five passes defended.