Change is coming for the Las Vegas Raiders as a new regime is ready to take over. The team announced January 31 that it had officially hired Josh McDaniels to become its new coach, a day after it announced the hiring of Dave Ziegler as general manager. Ziegler and McDaniels, who are coming to the Raiders from the New England Patriots, likely won’t waste time putting their stamp on the team.
One blogger, in examining the contracts that the Raiders should cut in the offseason, suggested Ziegler and McDaniels should part with one of the Raiders’ best defensive players in 2021.
Denzel Perryman, who led the team with 154 combined tackles and 102 solo tackles, numbers which were sixth best and third best, respectively, in the NFL. But, according to Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox in an opinion piece published January 31, Perryman, 29, is “too often a liability in coverage.” Opposing quarterbacks had a 114.1 passer rating when targeting him.
The new regime will have to decide whether Perryman’s tackle numbers justify his shortcomings. Perryman is good at flowing to the football, but he’s not a legitimate playmaker. He has a modest $3 million cap hit in 2022, but Las Vegas could save all of it by trading or releasing Perryman.
Teams don’t often part with Pro Bowlers on a reasonable salary, but Las Vegas will have to at least consider replacing Perryman with a linebacker better suited to pressuring the quarterback, making plays in the backfield and corralling opposing pass-catchers.
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Cutting Perryman Wouldn’t Be Popular
McDaniels has made unpopular moves in the past. Upon becoming coach of the Denver Broncos before the 2009 season, McDaniels, then 32 and in his first head coaching job, was instrumental in dealing popular but embittered quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears in spring of that year. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen wrote a letter to season ticket holders to explain the reasons for the trade.
In April of the following year, McDaniels traded star wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins after Marshall posted 1,120 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
Cutting Perryman outright likely wouldn’t be a popular move. The linebacker was one of the team’s best players and became a leader over the course of the season. The Raiders already made an unpopular move by hiring McDaniels in favor of interim head coach Rich Bisaccia.
Next Defensive Coordinator Will Have a Say
The Raiders’ defensive personnel next season will largely depend on who they hire as the next defensive coordinator. Whomever the defensive coordinator hire will ostensibly be the head coach of the defense because McDaniels is known mostly for his skills working with NFL offenses.
Don “Wink” Martindale has been linked to the Raiders’ defensive coordinator job, according to a January 27 tweet from The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore. Martindale was the Raiders’ linebacker coach from 2004 to 2008, he also coached under McDaniels in Denver in 2009 and 2010. On January 21, the Baltimore Ravens fired Martindale, who had been their defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens four years.