Denver Broncos free agent steal has been coming up clutch

Running back Samaje Perine has been outstanding for the Denver Broncos in 2023.

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages
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The Denver Broncos spent more than just about any other team in the NFL in free agency back in the Spring, but one deal that was worth just $3 million in guaranteed money has turned out to be one of the biggest bargains of the year. The Broncos stole backup running back Samaje Perine away from the Cincinnati Bengals after he'd played a pretty critical role there for four years.

Perine was coming off of one of the best seasons of his NFL career with 681 yards from scrimmage and 6 total touchdowns for the Bengals in 2022, and Sean Payton envisioned him as a back that could contribute in a variety of ways for the Broncos as he did with Cincinnati. Of course, Perine is a 240-pound back who is capable of doing well between the tackles or in short-yardage situations, but a back with that kind of size is really an asset in the passing game.

Not only as a receiver, but in pass protection as well.

And so far, Perine has delivered the goods when it comes to being a major asset in the passing game. He's had some facemask-busting pass protection reps, but where he's come up really clutch for the Denver Broncos is as a receiver and after the catch.

Perine caught a career-high 38 passes last season for the Cincinnati Bengals. With 32 receptions in 10 games for the Broncos this season, he's on pace to absolutely wreck that number. With 326 receiving yards this season, he's already set a career high. Perine is averaging over 10 yards per reception, and his abilities as a receiver have truly been the difference in the Denver Broncos winning some games on this current four-game streak.

Averaging just three carries per game this season, Perine's involvement in the running game has been sparse, but that figures to change with the way he's been contributing as a receiver lately. Having him on the field will force teams to respect the pass, and perhaps the 240-pound Perine can face some lighter boxes on the other side.

24 of Perine's 32 receptions have come in the second or fourth quarter this season, a stat that proves how valuable Perine is in end-of-half situations, no matter if it's the first or second half. The Broncos turn to no. 25 in crunch time, and he has delivered in a big way.

Believe it or not, Perine is currently third in the entire NFL among running backs in receiving yards behind Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers and Rachaad White of the Buccaneers. The Denver Broncos simply have to find more ways to get Perine involved. You love seeing him come through in the clutch, but Perine could be jumpstarting the offense at other times in the game when the offense so desperately needs it.

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The work he did against the Vikings and helping the Broncos' offense beat the blitz-happy Brian Flores defense was a work of art. Now, we'll get the chance to see what kind of a difference Perine can make against a team he's pretty familiar with in the Cleveland Browns as the Broncos try to get above .500 for the first time in forever.

Next. Predicting the score of every remaining Broncos game. Predicting the score of every remaining Broncos game. dark