With free agency in full swing, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look more and more likely to lose wide receiver Breshad Perriman in free agency. Given how he finished the season, he should be in for a substantial pay increase. So how can the Buccaneers replace him?
Perriman’s Arrival in Tampa
After playing for the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, Breshad Perriman joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His hope, and the Buccaneers, was to resurrect his career. Unfortunately, the first five games of the season did not play out as expected. It looked as though it would be another missed opportunity and little success.
Then, on November third, Perriman emerged. On eight targets, he hauled in four catches amassing 42 yards and a touchdown. Buccaneers fans were intrigued and hope started to gather around the young wideout. However, for the three games following this performance, optimism faded. Even I called for him to ride the pine and asked to see what Scotty Miller or even Justin Watson could do. It seemed as if his game against the Seattle Seahawks was a fluke.
Opportunity to Turn the Tide
Then something turned. Jameis Winston targeted Perriman six times in each of the games against the Jaguars, Colts, and Lions. Catching 13 of the passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Three touchdowns coming against the Lions. This jump in production was unfortunately aided by the season-ending injury to Mike Evans, ultimately allowing Perriman to become the number two wide receiver behind Chris Godwin.
A further opportunity came about as Godwin went down with an injury as well making the Lions game his last of the season. Every sports prognosticator was calling the air raid offense dead in Tampa as Winston’s number one target was now limited to Perriman. But it didn’t stop him. Perriman posted even catches on 12 targets for 102 yards against the Texans and followed it up with five reception for 134 yards and a single touchdown against the Falcons.
In the last five games of the season, Perriman posted 506 yards and five touchdowns solidifying him a viable wide receiver free agent target around the league. The chances of staying in Tampa seem very slim and he will most likely find himself on his fourth team with a larger paycheck then what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will offer him. So who can the Buccaneers target in order to replace him in free agency?
Who can Replace Perriman?
Using the model of finding what seems to be wasted talent, the Buccaneers could target another former Cleveland wide receiver. Currently, a free agent from the New York Giants, Corey Coleman finds himself in much the same position Breshad Perriman found himself in at the end of the 2018 season. Now labeled a bust, he needs a new home. I believe he could thrive in a pass-happy offense with two solid wide receivers in Evans and Godwin to take the pressure off him.
Coleman’s stats seem bleak at this point in his career with his snap count diminishing each year in the league. In three years, he has managed 789 yards and five touchdowns.
Looking at his past situations one must ask; Has he gotten a fair shot and do the stats really tell an accurate story?
In his rookie season, he had the likes of Robert Griffen III, Josh McCown, and Cody Kessler on the roster as quarterbacks. There were no other wide receivers worth mentioning on the team at that point either. In the 2017 season, the addition of DeShone Kizer did not improve the Browns or Coleman’s numbers.
In 2018, Coleman found himself on the New York Giants roster. Although there was a change of scenery, there was no change in the scenario. Eli Manning was clearly on the wrong end of a long career and the offensive line left a lot to be desired. Above Coleman on the roster was Odell Beckham Jr. and a few other wide receivers. At that time, they were all trapped in an abysmal offensive scheme. Adding salt to the wounds he already had, Coleman’s hopes of breaking out in the 2019 season were cut short when he tore his ACL. He would be ruled out for the season.
Hope on the Horizon
Coleman could use a team change (again). If his injury is healed, the expectation is he can return to the 4.37-second 40-yard dash. Therefore he could fill the same role as Perriman did. Similarly, his ability to stretch the field fits well into the wide receiver three position. He may be an added explosive option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He could also come at an extremely friendly price and thrive in a Bruce Arians’ offense.
Coming out in the draft he was spoken of highly. He was touted as being a dangerous vertical talent who could stretch the field. He excelled in Baylor’s passing attack game and was targeted often. The result was a round one selection, 15th overall in the 2016 draft.
Could he replace Perriman? Maybe. In my opinion, he is certainly worth bringing in and testing his abilities. If he still has his speed, he stands a good chance to be feasible under the radar replacement!