Is the Son of a Former Saints Receiver ‘Great Fit’ for New Orleans in Free Agency?

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints,

‘A chip off of the old block’. That famous expression describing the similar traits and characteristics that are shared by a father and his son, would seem to be the appropriate terminology which accurately describes current unrestricted free agent and 5th year veteran wide receiver Breshad Perriman — who not only might be a possible target for  New Orleans next month in NFL Free Agency; but also happens to be the son of former Saints “Dome Patrol Era” star WR Brett Perriman from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

The younger Perriman, who will turn age 27 at the beginning of next season, is viewed by several well-respected League observers and analysts as a player who potentially could become a “great fit” for the Black and Gold if they were to sign him to become a complementary “weapon” at the team’s wide receiver position; to put alongside All-Pro Michael Thomas in their high-powered offensive attack.

The 26-year old former University of Central Florida star, who was originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens as the 26th overall pick back during the 1st Round of the 2015 NFL Draft nearly five years ago; last season played for the Saints’ NFC South Division rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and has caught a total of 89 passes out of a possible 90 targets the past two years (only one dropped pass) while also finishing as the 2nd highest graded WR League-wide last season in 2019, over the final 5 games.

But Perriman, who has had an “up and down” NFL career up until this point, isn’t expected to command nearly as much money as some of the other better-known wide receivers in next month’s Free Agent market; which some believe makes the still-speedy former college superstar (who ran an extremely impressive 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash coming out of college and can still can run a 4.3 five years later) a prime target for New Orleans when the 2020 signing period officially gets underway on March 18th.

As mentioned prominently by Pro Football Focus analyst Anthony Treash: the younger Perriman could be the player that’s exactly who the Saints could use (and need) to place within their offensive scheme; especially assuming that Saints long-time veteran starting QB and future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees returns for his 2oth NFL season.

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound Perriman’s most recent contract was a 1-year deal last season with the Bucs, for $4 million. It’s believed though that he’ll be seeking a more lucrative and much-longer deal in what possibly could be the last “big” contract of his pro career,

That said, it’s expected that Breshad will want to earn as much as anywhere from $15-to-$18 million total (approximately $5 or $6 million per year for up to possibly as much as 3 seasons). A contract at that price should fall within the parameters of the Saints’ current salary cap situation.

Here’s what PFF and Treash had to say regarding Perriman and the possibility of signing with the Saints, in particular.


It seems like a given that Drew Brees will come back for one last hurrah, and the Saints will return the key members of the roster that ranked fourth in non-quarterback team WAR this past year. Still, Brees could use a low-cost weapon opposite of Michael Thomas. Breshad Perriman has been fairly decent since leaving Baltimore in 2017. He’s dropped just one of 90 targets these past two years, which bodes well for the most accurate quarterback in the NFL. In his most recent season with Tampa Bay, Perriman ended the year red hot by producing the second highest receiving grade over the last five weeks.

As it turns out, the one “down-side” for the Saints as far as a possible signing of Perriman goes. is that he only managed to put up an overall catch rate last year of just 52.2% — although most observers believe that those numbers were a direct result of him playing in the Bucs offense with much-maligned Tampa QB Jameis Winston; who last season threw a whopping League-high 30 interceptions.

But Perriman was still able to make his mark for the Buccaneers as their designated #3 wide receiver behind starters (and both All-Pros) Mike Evans and Chris Godwin; who together are considered by most experts as the NFL’s clear-cut top wide receiver tandem / duo.

Perriman’s biggest contribution came during the final month of the 2019 season in December, when he filled in as the team’s primary #1 target for the Bucs receiving game; when both Evans and Godwin ironically were held out of game-action with nearly identical hamstring injuries.

As noted by USA TODAY / SaintsWire writer John Sigler: Perriman in those last 5 games tallied 506 receiving yards (and 349 yards in his last three games) for a 17.9 yards per catch average — which actually would have led the entire Saints team (Thomas included) last season.

The primary concern for any possible contract negotiations between Perriman and Saints management going forward, would be his health and his previously well-documented issues with dropped passes.

Perriman missed his rookie 2015 NFL season in Baltimore with a knee injury, although he has since played in a total of 51 out of a possible 64 games in the past 4 years with Baltimore (2016-17), Cleveland (2018), and Tampa Bay (2019). In his 4 professional seasons thus far, Breshad Perriman has caught 95 passes for 645 yards (a 16.4 yards per catch average), along with 11 touchdowns.

Prior to his entrance into the NFL, Perriman also dealt with a notable issue regarding dropped passes during his final year in college (2014); as he dropped 14% of the passes that were thrown in his direction according to the expert analysis at that time, by ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay.

However that said, it’s become obvious that Perriman appears to have greatly improved his capability over the past few seasons at being able to cleanly catch the football; and that recent success to do so along with his still-elite caliber speed has now very likely made him one of the truly underrated available free agent players at the wide receiver position in next month’s unrestricted free agent class.

Breshad starred in college at Central Florida from 2012 to 2014, where he became an all-conference 1st team wide receiver for the Golden Knights program in the AAC (American Athletic Conference) and finished his 3-year collegiate career with 115 receptions for 2,243 yards and 16 touchdowns. The younger Perriman decided to skip and forego what would have been his senior college season (2015), to turn pro a year early and entered the 2015 Draft as a junior.

Of course, older fans of the Black and Gold and long-time loyal ‘Who Dats’ will remember Breshad’s Dad — former University of Miami (FL) Hurricanes star and Saints WR Brett Perriman — who was drafted by then-Saints general manager Jim Finks and head coach Jim Mora in the 2nd Round (#52 overall) in the 1988 NFL Draft.

The elder Perriman, who now is long-since retired at age 54, played with the Saints for the first 3 seasons (1988-90) of his nearly-decade long NFL career (9 seasons), before he was traded by New Orleans during the 1991 off-season to  the Detroit Lions; in exchange for a 5th Round draft pick.

In Detroit, Perriman would go on to have a great deal of success in their offense, during what would ultimately became a productive 6-year run. Brett Perriman eventually finished his professional career with 535 catches for 6,589 yards and 30 touchdowns.

With the Saints, he caught 72 passes for 953 yards and 4 touchdowns, primarily as the team’s #2 WR back then behind then-#1 WR Eric Martin during what was the tail-end of the team’s famous “Dome Patrol” era of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Photo courtesy of Brett Perriman,

Now over 30 plus years later, could another player with the last name of ‘Perriman’ and the son of a former Saints receiver, emerge as the #2 WR (and also become a “great fit”) for the New Orleans offense?

That remains a distinct possibility in approximately just one more month from now — if the Saints decide to target the young man who clearly has become a “chip off of the old block”….

Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium. He is the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius

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