NFL Rumors: Chargers interested in surprising reunion with former draft pick

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Chargers continue to make free agency moves. Though Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are gone, the franchise has signed players on both sides of the ball. The signing of RB Gus Edwards and the re-signing of S Alohi Gilman stand out.

However, the linebacker group is practically deserted. Eric Kendricks was released (then signed with the Cowboys), and Kenneth Murray became a free agent and signed with the Titans. Though the Chargers will sign former Vikings LB Troy Dye, he did not put up enough stats to be a starter in 2024. On the other hand, second-year LB Daiyan Henley barely played in 2023, and we do not know what his role will be in 2024.

Unexpectedly, the Chargers could bring LB Denzel Perryman back to Los Angeles, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Perryman, a fellow Miami Hurricane, was drafted by the then-San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2015 draft. Six years later, Perryman signed with the Panthers but was traded away to the Raiders. He played in Las Vegas for two years–earning a Pro Bowl selection in 202–and signed with the Texans in 2023, where he excelled in run defense.

Denzel Perryman with the Chargers (2015-2020)

Perryman was out a considerable amount of time with the Chargers due to injuries, which prevented him from playing half of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Moreover, his stats were not impressive, reaching at most 64 solo tackles in his rookie year (ranked 31st among linebackers). Though he had his most tackles for loss (TFLs) his first two seasons with 8 each year, he only had 5 TFLs in total from 2017-2020. Finally, he only got 1 sack in total in his last four years with the Chargers.

Despite playing his best football of his career in 2020 according to Bolts from the Blue, he was mainly a rotational player due to Kenneth Murray's draft selection. Therefore, he signed with the Panthers in 2021 as a free agent.

In summary, his first Chargers tenure was average, especially because of injuries suffered.

Denzel Perryman with the Raiders and Texans (2021-2023)

The Raiders traded for Perryman before the start of the season, and boy was it a steal. He had a breakout 2021 season. In addition to reaching the playoffs (after defeating his former team in a Week 18 game that we all want to forget), he was selected to his first Pro Bowl. He had 102 solo tackles, the third most that season. Though not as spectacular tackle-wise, he had a good 2022 season with the Raiders with 14 TFLs and two interceptions.

On the other hand, we all remember his Texans' tenure because of his three (and after appeal, two) game suspension for illegal hits. However, he was an excellent run defender. He finished 16th among eligible LBs, according to Guilty as Charged's Steven Haglund:

Despite not being the most consistent player, I like Denzel Perryman's potential (re) signing. He revived his career with the Raiders and would be a Week 1 starter, especially considering that Daiyan Henley, Nick Niemann, and potentially, Troy Dye, would be the only LBs on the roster. He would be a fundamental piece in the run defense, a constant struggle over the last few years for the Bolts.