The Denver Broncos agreed to a two-year contract with veteran running back Samaje Perine on Tuesday, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, confirming reports.
Perine, who turned 27 in September, provided a steadying presence for the Cincinnati Bengals‘ backfield during their run to the AFC Championship Game. He appeared in all 16 regular season-games, logging 95 carries for 394 yards — his highest totals since his 2017 rookie season with Washington.
The sixth-year veteran was the Bengals’ primary running back on third downs and was trusted in pass protection. He also saw 65% of the offensive snaps during the Bengals’ loss in the AFC Championship Game, while starter Joe Mixon was reduced to 35% of the snaps.
When asked about the team’s depth chart at the position headed into the offseason, Broncos general manager George Paton said at the scouting combine, “We do need to add.”
Javonte Williams, who suffered multiple ligament tears in his knee in Week 4 last season, is still working through his recovery, and his status for the start of the season is a question the Broncos won’t have an answer to until later this summer.
Latavius Murray, who led the team in rushing last season, and Mike Boone were also both unrestricted free agents as Boone is expected to sign a deal with the Houston Texans when free agency officially opens Wednesday. At the moment, the Broncos have just five picks in April’s draft in the wake of trades to acquire Russell Wilson and coach Sean Payton, but they will still give a long look at a deep group of running backs on the board.
Perine, a former Oklahoma standout, also was instrumental as a receiver out of the backfield. His 38 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns were all career highs.
Perine, who joined the Bengals in 2019, has seen action in every game since the start of the 2020 season and signed a two-year deal worth $3.3 million in 2021. He has 1,592 yards rushing and 73 yards receiving in five NFL seasons, with 13 total touchdowns.
ESPN staff writer Ben Baby and senior writer Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.