Cowboys Pushed to Sign New Starting LB to Hefty Contract

Chargers LB Denzel Perryman

Getty Chargers LB Denzel Perryman

The search for Sean Lee’s successor could lead the Dallas Cowboys to Denzel Perryman.

Bleacher Report identified Perryman, the soon-to-be-former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker, among three speculative free-agent targets for the Cowboys, along with San Francisco 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt and Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Joe Haeg.

Via BR’s Alex Ballentine:

Adding a run-stuffing linebacker like Perryman would be a step in the right direction. Perryman is not the best in coverage, but he was ranked third among all linebackers in run defense grade by Pro Football Focus. That grade alone helped carry him to the third overall rank among linebackers, according to their analysts.

Perryman has a few factors going against him in the pursuit of a big payday, though. He’s now 28 years old, which means he’ll likely finish this contract on the wrong side of 30. Run-stuffing linebackers with limited coverage ability aren’t as valuable as they used to be.

He may be willing to take a deal like the Bears signed with Danny Trevathan last season in which he gets three years with most of the contract guaranteed and the biggest cap hits in the final year.

Contract Offer: Three years, $24 million

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Background on Perryman

A 2015 second-round pick of the Chargers, the Hurricanes product has collected 227 solo tackles, six pass breakups, five sacks, and three interceptions across 69 career games. He hit the ground running as a pro, notching 135 tackles and four sacks over his first two seasons before injuries ruined his 2017.

Perryman, who’s yet to complete a full 16-game campaign, appeared in 13 games this year, making 47 total stops and adding one sack and PBU. He’s expected to test the unrestricted free-agent market after the Chargers hired defensive-minded Brandon Staley as its new head coach.

Perryman, 28, was a dynamic player at Miami where he twice earned first-team All-ACC honors and a third-team All-American selection. A two-down thumper, he drew pre-draft comparisons to former Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny.

“A powerful hitter with knock-you-out power when he comes downhill, Denzel Perryman loves to lay the wood,” Perryman’s BR scouting report reads. “He looks like he walked out of the 1990s and should be playing alongside Levon Kirkland. Perryman is a stout, tough, instinctive linebacker against the run, and he’ll take out his frustration on a blocker in traffic. For a smaller ‘backer, Perryman will stack and shed very well and does a good job keeping himself clean to attack the ball. When he sees a lane, he dives in at full speed to make the tackle.”

The last time Perryman faced the Cowboys was in 2017. In that game, a 28-6 Chargers  victory, he finished second on the defense with seven total tackles.

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