During the 2023 NFL free agency, prior to the NFL Draft, and due to the uncertainty with the Javonte Williams knee injury, the Denver Broncos decided to sign running back Samaje Perine.
Over his career, with the Cincinnati Bengals, Perine has been mainly a third-down running back, a great blocking back, and overall a good backup running back. He has served as the number-one running back a few times when Joe Mixon missed some games.
Denver signed Samaje Perine to a two-year, $7.5 million contract with three million fully guaranteed. His contract has a three million cap hit in the first year, a four million cap hit in the second year, and six million in dead cap.
During the preseason, Perine played with the starters. In the first game, he was the starting running back. In the second game, he played with the starters, and he was inactive in the third preseason game.
In preseason, Perine had the following stats:
- 9 carries
- 48 rushing yards
- 0 receptions
For me, Perine was one of the most disappointing players in the preseason ... and so far in the season, he has been one of the most disappointing offensive players.
In the first three games of the regular season, Samaje Perine has the following stats:
- 12 carries
- 54 rushing yards
- 9 receptions
- 72 receiving yards
- 0 touchdowns
Which on average is 4 carries, 18 rushing yards, 3 receptions, and 24 receiving yards per game.
There are several running backs who were selected after the 3rd round of the 2023 NFL Draft, that are not starters on their teams and have way better rushing stats compared to Perine.
- Saints' Kendre Miller: 1 game, 9 carries, 34 rushing yards
- Titans' Tyjae Spears: 3 games, 15 carries, 82 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 10 receiving yards
- Dolphins' De'Von Achane: 2 games, 19 carries, 208 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 34 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns
- Jaguars' Tank Bigsby: 3 games, 9 carries, 23 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
- Bears' Roschon Johnson: 3 games, 17 carries, 90 rushing yards, 10 receptions, 56 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
It would have been at least $2 million cheaper for the Broncos to draft a rookie running back, instead of signing Perine to a two-year, $7.5 million deal. Obviously, there have only been three games so far in the season, but ... with that being said ...
Did the Denver Broncos made a mistake by signing Samaje instead of drafting a rookie?