In an offseason that's already seen tremendous changes take place around the NFL, there is perhaps no team experiencing more change than the Denver Broncos. They have a new head coach in Sean Payton, and he brought in a whole new staff along with him.
The Broncos also splashed the pot in free agency, with a particular focus on the offensive side of the ball. Denver signed backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers, tight end Chris Manhertz, fullback Michael Burton and running back Samaje Perine. Perine joins a backfield that already features Javonte Williams, who is coming off a torn ACL suffered early last season.
As far as why he chose to sign with the Broncos despite Williams' presence, Perine explained.
"What it came down to, really, was how up front Denver was with me as far as playing time and what Coach Payton wants to do with me, personally, and what he wants to do as an offense," Perine said, via the Denver Post. "The first time I talked with Coach Payton when everything opened up -- that first day -- the thing he really emphasized was his history of using multiple backs, using two backs in his time with the Saints and going through the history of the backs he's had. That made my decision a tad bit easier."
Knowing the Broncos will utilize multiple backs allowed Perine to feel comfortable in his role, but he also sounds excited about potentially working in the same position group as Williams in particular, due to the similarities in their style of play.
"When Javonte does come back and he is fully healthy, I've seen him on film and I've seen the kind of runner he is," Perine said. "And a full game's worth of two backs who run the ball physically, straight down your throat? That's going to be, in my opinion, pretty dangerous. With Russell Wilson and everyone around it, I feel like we have the potential to be a pretty dangerous offense. It's pretty exciting and I'm excited to get up there and get to work and let things fall into place like they should."
Last season, Perine carved out a role as both Joe Mixon's backup and a fill-in starter for Cincinnati, and his performance with the expanded opportunities even led to a slight downtick in Mixon's role when he returned from injury. That likely led to the Broncos feeling comfortable that Perine could play at a high enough level to work alongside Williams, or in a larger role in the event it takes the third-year back longer than expected to return from his knee injury.