How Denzel Perryman could upgrade defense as hard-hitting free agent linebacker joins Texans on one-year, $3.5 million contract

Veteran linebacker on free agent visit

Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Denzel Perryman speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team's practice facility Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/John Locher) (John Locher, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – 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 signing with the Texans on a one-year, $3.5 million contract after he visited he Texans as part of a two-day meeting last week, according to league sources.

Perryman, 30, 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 change that situation.

Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and

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