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News: Denzel Perryman expected to hit free agency

Pro Bowl LB likely headed elsewhere

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Denzel Perryman
Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Nothing quite like a little Friday night news dump for ya. NFL free agency is just around the corner as the league’s legal tampering period begins on Monday the 13th and the market officially opens two days later on Wednesday. One name to keep an eye on for the Las Vegas Raiders is linebacker Denzel Perryman.

This past season, Perryman played on the last year of a two-year, $6 million deal that he originally signed with the Carolina Panthers before getting traded to the Raiders for a sixth-round pick right before the start of the 2021 season. Las Vegas also received a seventh-round pick in the trade as the linebacker likely wasn’t going to make Carolina’s final 53-man roster.

However, Perryman enjoyed a breakout campaign two years ago where he finished sixth in the league with 154 total tackles and earned his first and only Pro Bowl bid. He was the organization’s first off-ball linebacker to receive the honor since Matt Millen in 1988.

This past season wasn’t nearly as successful for the 2021 All-Star, though. Injuries forced him to miss five games and cut his total tackles nearly in half with just 83. He also didn’t appear to be a great fit in new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme, which typically favors the more athletic/hybrid safety type of backers. Perryman has always been more of the downhill, run-stuffing type.

Now, as free agency quickly approaches, it appears Graham, head coach Josh McDaniels and the rest of the coaching staff have decided to move on from Perryman, who turned 30 years old last December. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted late Friday night that the linebacker is expected to hit the open market after not reaching a deal with the Silver and Black.

Assuming no other pending free agents are re-signed between tonight and Monday afternoon, this will leave the Raiders with Divine Deablo, Luke Masterson, Darien Bulter, Curtis Bolton and Kana’i Mauga as the only linebackers under contract.

Deablo ended last season injured reserve while Masterson and Butler got playing time as undrafted rookies, and Bolton was primarily a special teamer. Mauga was a late-season addition in 2022 but didn’t see any playing time.

So, expect the Raiders to be big players in the linebacker market this offseason, once again.