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Earlier than free company started, earlier than the megadeals started flying, earlier than the Giants despatched Odell Beckham Jr. packing (to the delight of Browns followers), a future star chances are you’ll not know signed a deal that introduced him to tears.
His title is Denzel Perryman.
NFL crew executives and coaches say Perryman, a 26-year-old linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers, has an opportunity to be one of many league’s subsequent defensive greats. He is handled accidents over the previous two years, however he is now wholesome.
Simply earlier than free company started, he signed a two-year, $12 million extension to stay in L.A., in keeping with NFL Community’s Ian Rapoport.
“I cried after I signed the extension,” Perryman advised B/R. “Not many individuals know that, however they do now.
“It was emotional. The crew was exhibiting it nonetheless believed in me, and I will do every little thing to ensure their belief in me is not misplaced.”
The Chargers went 12-Four final 12 months and beat the Ravens within the Wild Card Spherical earlier than dropping to the Patriots within the divisional spherical. There’s lots to love concerning the Chargers’ future, even in an AFC stuffed with gifted franchises.
“I really feel like there’s loads of promise with this crew,” Perryman stated. “All I am going to say is keep tuned. Simply keep tuned.”
Perryman’s deal represented extra than simply monetary safety for him. It was additionally a part of the Chargers’ technique to concentrate on securing their homegrown expertise whereas solely reasonably dipping into free company.
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There are different playoff groups following this plan. The Colts have greater than $94.5 million in cap space and have not made any big acquisitions. The Texans have $47.7 million and are not investing closely in free company, both. Playoff groups resembling Dallas, Philadelphia and Chicago likewise have not made many main strikes.
That is the opposite facet of free company: sit tight and reward your individual expertise available. With growing wage caps and the push from followers, media and others for groups to dive headfirst into free company, taking a extra measured strategy will be controversial.
Nevertheless it’s how a superb crew ought to proceed in free company, because the Chargers are proving this offseason.
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The Chargers are so stacked, they received 12 video games final season regardless of dropping quite a few important gamers to accidents. That has allowed them to make use of free company to tweak their roster, not overhaul it.
On Wednesday, they signed one of many league’s higher backup quarterbacks, Tyrod Taylor, as insurance coverage for the 37-year-old Philip Rivers.
Taylor as soon as took the Bills to the playoffs, which is the equal of Batman beating Superman. Whereas Baker Mayfield shortly supplanted him because the starter in Cleveland this previous season, Taylor continues to be a savvy addition for a Chargers crew that may use all of the depth it could actually get.
And if defensive finish Joey Bosa is wholesome after lacking many of the 2018 season with a foot damage, an already formidable protection might be downright scary.
Perryman is a part of the rationale why.
By way of 9 video games final season, he was tied for second on the crew with 51 tackles, in keeping with ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams. He additionally had two move breakups and an interception.
He completely suits what the Chargers protection is all about: pace, smarts and aggression. With him and free-agent addition Thomas Davis (previously with the Panthers) now within the fold, L.A. doubtlessly has one of many NFL’s finest linebacking corps.
The important thing for Perryman is staying wholesome.
“My huge aim is to play a full season with out damage,” he stated. “It is a fairly easy aim.”
If he does so, the Chargers will give all of us a motive to remain tuned.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Observe him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.