The Denver Broncos will undoubtedly be looking to bring in help at the wide receiver position, but will we see them pursue anyone in free agency?
The Denver Broncos will be looking to upgrade their roster in a variety of ways this offseason, and while I’m not entirely in favor of John Elway looking at spending a bunch of money at wide receiver in free agency, should we be completely opposed to it?
If the price is right, never.
I’m a huge proponent of the Broncos using two premiere draft picks (top 100 selections) on the wide receiver position in what appears to be an exceptional class. I don’t think Denver has to use a first-round pick on receiver if they can get a great value at another position, but they should definitely be looking to use two top 100 picks at wide receiver, especially considering their free agency assets (over $60 million in cap space and counting) and the way they’ll be able to address needs with that.
The Broncos are in a great position to take advantage of the depth of this year’s draft, which is at wide receiver and offensive line.
But that doesn’t mean they should ignore veteran options if they can get someone at the right price point, and one really intriguing option is veteran receiver Breshad Perriman.
Injuries basically blotted out the first three years of Perriman’s career after he was a first-round pick with the Baltimore Ravens out of Central Florida in 2015.
Perriman ran a dazzling 4.24 in the 40-yard dash at his UCF pro day, and at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, his issues with drops in college and his lack of refinement as a receiver overall were minimal in comparison to his physical skills and potential.
The Ravens didn’t get the best out of Perriman, and really we hadn’t seen him do much after the 2016 season (missed all of 2015 with an injury) until he joined the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and started making some plays.
Perriman caught only 16 passes with the Browns, but was impressive enough down the stretch to earn a second contract with the team, which they agreed to basically void after they re-signed him and then traded for Odell Beckham Jr.
Perriman ironically went to the even more loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he was competing for targets with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, and the Bucs’ backs.
He certainly made the most of his opportunities this past year in Tampa Bay, catching a career-high 36 passes for 645 yards and six touchdowns.
Not that it works this way, but I would say Perriman is worth a million bucks for every 100 yards and every touchdown he scores, and after making $4 million with Tampa Bay last year, I would be comfortable paying him in the range of $6 million per season to be a penciled in WR2 for the Broncos before the 2020 NFL Draft.
There are a variety of reasons.
I wanted to watch the Bucs and Browns tape with Perriman to make sure he wasn’t just going out there and falling under wide open 9 routes or making body catches or anything like that.
Sure, the Bucs didn’t play the greatest defenses down the stretch of the 2019 season, but Perriman put together a really nice five-game stretch of performances that was too intriguing to ignore.
He caught every catchable pass thrown his way, first and foremost.
As a matter of fact, over the last two seasons, Perriman has zero drops on catchable targets. That is significant for a guy who has struggled with that in his career, but again, we have to figure out whether or not these passes he’s catching have been cheap or not.
The film review shows that they were anything but.
Perriman made one contested catch after another, not only deep downfield but also near the sideline on shorter routes. It’s not like the Bucs filtered their offense through Perriman, but as a secondary option, he really helped open things up for others and provided Jameis Winston with a reliable target.
One thing I was looking for was to see if Perriman’s timed 4.24 speed from five years ago still holds up. I’m not so sure that’s the case.
While Perriman certainly is fast, he doesn’t have the play speed of a guy who ran a 4.24 in the 40-yard dash, yet he is certainly capable of explosive plays downfield and his ability to create separation even with both he and the defensive back running full speed downfield is impressive.
After watching Perriman play, I’m confident in saying he’s the kind of playmaker I would love for the Broncos to have as a WR2 but I wouldn’t want signing him to prevent the team from investing in the WR position in the 2020 NFL Draft.
He has the skillset to be effective in the Pat Shurmur offense as the Broncos transition to more 11 personnel, and he’s proven he doesn’t need a high volume of targets to be an impactful player over the last two seasons.
Considering Perriman’s strong hands, contested catch ability, and speed combined with the fact that he’s still just 26 and won’t be 27 until September, he’s the kind of free agent I can get on board with, especially if his price tag is reasonable.
The Broncos were flirting with the idea of signing wide receiver John Brown last year, and Brown ended up commanding $9 million per year with the Bills and $10.1 million guaranteed. I’m not sure I’m going that high for Perriman, especially with his injury history.
If he’s available for $6 million per year or less, his skillset is intriguing enough opposite Courtland Sutton that I would consider making this move for sure. The Broncos have the available cap space and they need speed and playmaking ability on offense.
They should not scoff at chances to make the team better, especially if the price is right.
Drew Lock has always been an accurate passer deep downfield, so Perriman could be an ideal type of player to take shots to a few times per game in addition to whatever the Broncos would bring in via the draft.
This is a player who appears to have really turned a corner, and the Broncos would be wise to investigate in free agency.