The Bears are working on another reclamation of a first-round pick because general manager Ryan Pace never gives up on those players’ talent eventually winning out, even when the rest of the league already has.
Wide receiver Breshad Perriman is the team’s newest project after the Lions, who desperately need help at his position, cut him five months after signing him. They ate $2 million in guaranteed money to get rid of him. The Bears are his seventh team since he was drafted No. 26 overall in 2015 by the Ravens, and he has never caught 40 passes in a season.
Perriman was the fifth receiver drafted that year, when Pace took Kevin White at No. 7, and has remained on the Bears’ radar despite bouncing rapidly around the NFL.
“We’ve talked about him every year,” Pace said. “We’ve gone back and looked at our grades — we’ve got tons and tons of grades on him — from all of our coaches and all of our scouts. [Speed] has been the one trait. He’s big, he’s 6-2, he can still run and that’s just continuing the speed and explosiveness in this offense.”
Perriman’s best season was with the Buccaneers in 2019, when he set career highs in catches (36), yards (645) and touchdowns (six).
The Bears chose the unknown of Perriman, who has received only one-year deals since the Ravens cut him, over what they’ve learned firsthand about Rodney Adams in a year-plus. Adams made the initial 53-man roster, but the Bears waived him to make room for Perriman. On Thursday, they brought Adams back for their practice squad.
The Bears agreed to terms with Perriman but haven’t signed him yet. Coach Matt Nagy said the team expects to have him at practice Monday as it launches fully into preparing for the opener Sept. 12 against the Rams.
Perriman, 27, dropped two passes in the Lions’ preseason finale, which seemed to be the final blow after struggling with a hip injury in training camp. The Lions moved ahead with fourth-round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown, 27-year-old journeyman Kalif Raymond and 29-year-old Tyrell Williams as their top three wide receivers.
“I just felt like we needed to go another direction,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said.
The Bears don’t have much room for Perriman, either.
Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney are easily their top two receivers, and Nagy has been raving about newcomer Marquise Goodwin as the third. Damiere Byrd has made a strong impression, too, coming off 47 catches, 604 yards and a touchdown for the Patriots last season. The Bears also claimed receiver Nsimba Webster to work primarily as a punt returner.
That leaves little for Perriman, meaning he’ll have to defend his roster spot against strong challenges from practice-squad receivers Isaiah Coulter, Jon’Vea Johnson and Adams.
Last year, Pace signed four former first-rounders who were dismissed as disappointments by their original teams: offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, cornerback Artie Burns, outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo and wide receiver Ted Ginn. Ifedi started at right guard and is now the starting right tackle. Mingo played significantly as a backup and special-teamer. Burns missed the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and Ginn was cut in November.
Considering how little players like that cost in free agency, nearly any contribution from Perriman would make this worthwhile for the Bears.