MARCH 16: Perryman is meeting with the Texans on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com 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.