According to Ian Rapoport, the Los Angeles Chargers are currently working to extend the contract of Denzel Perryman ahead of free agency. Is this good news for Chargers fans?
In advance fo free agency, the #Chargers are working to retain standout LB Denzel Perryman, sources say. He’s a key part of their defense and when healthy, he’s been a force. This would maintain continuity in the front 7 if it gets done.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2019
By now, most Chargers fans have heard the usual cliche about Perryman as many times as he has missed games – he is a great linebacker when healthy.
This writer and most fans agree with this sentiment, so let’s look at what the re-signing of Perryman would mean in terms of offseason strategy rather than what Perryman himself brings to the table.
If Perryman is re-signed
If Perryman is re-signed, Chargers fans can kiss their dreams of a high-profile middle linebacker goodbye. Perryman is a leader for the Chargers, and the team is not going to re-sign him intending to put him on the bench.
However, fans should also believe Tom Telesco when he says a major offseason focus will be the linebacker group. There is no way that the Chargers would just re-sign Perryman and call it a day.
Along with Perryman, the Chargers would likely have to either draft or sign another lower-tier free agent at the position. Chargers fans should not believe that bringing back Perryman means passing on good draft options like Devin Bush.
Would it not look beautiful to see Perryman thumping runners up the middle with a promising rookie waiting in the wings and playing on passing downs?
Furthermore, investing a smaller amount in Perryman rather than investing in a premium interior linebacker would allow the Chargers to invest more in the other two linebacker positions.
While Kyzir White, Uchenna Nwosu, and Jatavis Brown have shown promise, none of the above players are yet stellar every down options.
White and Brown are relatively undersized and have injury histories, while Nwosu was primarily used as a pass rusher last year. Furthermore, Kyle Emanuel is a free agent this year as well, making the other two linebacker positions clearly in need as well.
Thus, re-signing Perryman could allow the Bolts to focus on finding some bigger players for the other linebacker positions as well.
If Perryman walks
If the Chargers allow Perryman to leave in free agency, there are more options available, as the starting middle linebacker position will be open to fill.
One option could be to find a high profile free agent such as C.J. Mosley or Anthony Barr. While Barr and Mosley should certainly be considered, both would likely significantly limit investment at other positions, such as the other two linebacker positions.
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The other option is to sign a lower tier free agent like Kwon Alexander or Jake Ryan, then try to draft a linebacker to start soon.
The former option jeopardizes investment in depth at other positions, while the latter option runs the risk of having no good player available at linebacker at the Chargers’ picks.
By looking at the top free agent middle linebackers available, it appears that these are likely to be the only two options available (besides a trade) with few middle-of-the-road options available.
Thus, although re-signing Perryman is itself a risky proposition due to his injury history, the team at least knows that it is getting a leader with great ability.
Fans should be happy that Perryman is getting a second look. However, they should also expect that the Chargers will fortify the middle linebacker position beyond Perryman.
If that does not happen, or Perryman’s price precludes the Chargers from investing more in the position, we may be left questioning this decision. For now, fans should trust in Telesco and appreciate that more of these hits could be coming from a Chargers linebacker again this upcoming year.
Denzel Perryman's hip mobility and ability to come to balance prior to contact lends itself to some killer hits. One of my favorites. pic.twitter.com/0HI2dbdIli
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 2, 2016
Want the Chargers to target a high-profile player for the position and pass on Perryman? Agree with my thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.