Denzel Perryman is the type of hard-hitting, high-energy middle linebacker and veteran leader that could significantly upgrade the Texans’ substandard run defense.
The former Las Vegas Raiders Pro Bowl selection is visiting the Texans as part of a two-day meeting that started Thursday and concludes Friday, according to a league source. Perryman, 30, arrived Thursday to meet with the coaching staff, undergo a physical and have more meetings with his medical exams concluding Friday. He underwent surgery for a torn labrum during the season and is expected to be medically cleared by April, according to a source.
Perryman is a proven commodity as a veteran with the requisite instincts, toughness and intelligence to thrive in Texans coach DeMeco Ryans’ defense. A tandem of Perryman and athletic second-year linebacker Christian Harris would be a potentially formidable one.
Growing up in Coral Gables, Fla., Perryman grew up idolizing former University of Miami linebacker Ray Lewis. Perryman excelled at Miami and was drafted in the second round by the Chargers, then traded to the Raiders from the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round draft pick. He recorded 154 tackles, a franchise-high, for Las Vegas in 2021. He had 83 tackles and two interceptions in a dozen games last season.
Perryman has drawn comparisons to Jonathan Vilma, a retired three-time Pro Bowl linebacker who also attended Miami and played for the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.
Perryman qualifies as a true run-and-hit defender with a nasty streak. He could inject toughness into the Texans’ porous defense.
Perryman has recorded 586 career tackles, six sacks, four forced fumbles and five interceptions.
The Texans struggled to stop the run last season and finished 3-13-1.
Perryman could help them. It’s just a matter of working through the medical to get a feel for that and, like everything in free agency, negotiating a contract that makes sense for both sides.
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.