The Las Vegas Raiders roster is set up to look vastly different in 2023 than it did in 2022. The team had major needs on the defensive side of the ball heading into the offseason but has yet to make any splash signings. Linebacker remains a big need for the team and they are losing their best linebacker of the last couple of seasons.
Denzel Perryman had the most combined tackles in a single season in Raiders history in 2021 with 154. He was selected to the Pro Bowl that season and played well again in 2022 but missed five games with an injury. Perryman has never made it through a full season without injury in his career, which is likely why the Raiders decided against bringing him back.
According to KPRC 2’s Aaron Wilson, Perryman is signing a one-year deal worth $3.5 million with the Houston Texans.
The Texans hired former Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans as their head coach this offseason so he knows the position. Houston needs all the help it can get and Perryman is a player who will bring leadership and intensity to the defense. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be an impact player on defense for the Texans.
Robert Spillane Replacing Perryman on Raiders
Perryman had become a bit of a fan favorite among the Raiders fan base thanks to his big hits on defense and playful personality. The beanie-wearing linebacker will continue to be a part of the team’s history books but Las Vegas is looking for younger and more durable players. The Raiders signed former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane in free agency in hopes he could be an upgrade over Perryman.
Similar to the 2021 Pro Bowler, Spillane excels in the run game but needs to work on his pass coverage. He’s excited about the chance to have a breakout year in Las Vegas.
“I’ve tried to progress throughout my NFL journey, not only as a player, but as a man,” Spillane said in his introductory press conference on March 16. “And I think I’ve continually taken the next right step and that’s what’s important for me — what’s that next right step. And that was to come out here and sign with this opportunity, and so excited to be here, to give the city and organization all I have. So I continue on my journey, and I look forward to it.”
Spillane Looking to Be a Leader
Perryman leaves a leadership void on the Raiders’ defense but Spillane is looking to fill it. He believes that he can be a vocal leader and it’s actually one of the things he loves most about playing football.
“I love being a vocal leader on the defense,” Spillane said. “Sometimes in this business, it’s somebody’s misfortune that gives you an opportunity to perform. So when he went down, I was given the opportunity to step in and be that starting middle linebacker, and I felt like I took that and I ran with it. I love going out there and playing, so I want to be on the field for every opportunity that I can be, and I fight to be on the field. So I’ll continue to do that.”