For Bucs WR Breshad Perriman, there had to be the thought that his career might be over. Just two years ago, Perriman had exploded over his last five games in Tampa Bay, catching 25 passes for 506 yards and five touchdowns. That’s an average of over 20 yards per catch! Finally, it appeared Perriman was going to live up to his first round draft status after five years in the league.
Sure enough, Perriman generated some interest in free agency. He signed with the Jets, a team lacking a clear No. 1 wide receiver. But the UCF star caught just 30 passes despite playing the most snaps of his career. New York didn’t want him back as a free agent, so Perriman signed with Detroit. The Lions boasted arguably the weakest wide receiver room in the NFL, but Perriman didn’t make the final round of cuts. Chicago picked him up a week later, but he was waived without playing a snap for the woeful Bears.
Just when it looked like things were over for the journeyman receiver, along came Bruce Arians and the Bucs. Tampa Bay nabbed Perriman due to injuries to Antonio Brown and others. Depth receivers Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Jaelon Darden were struggling, and the Bucs needed a Plan B if that continued.
Unfortunately, injuries threw Perriman into the fire almost right away. In his second game with the Bucs, he played 18 snaps and was targeted four times. In game three, he saw a season-high 59 reps against Atlanta. With Chris Godwin, Brown and now Cyril Grayson out, don’t expect Perriman’s reps to do anything but increase. And trust us, the veteran receiver is well aware of the chance to resurrect his career and win a title.
“Oh man, it’s huge,” Perriman said. “You don’t really come across these opportunities too often. This is my seventh year in the league and first time in the playoffs. So it’s huge just to get an opportunity to play a game in the playoffs. I’m very excited for the opportunity.”
Perriman couldn’t be happier to be back in Tampa Bay, the place he has experienced the most NFL success. Labeled as a bust after flaming out of Baltimore, Arians’ system is the one place where Perriman has elevated his play.
“Man, it feels almost like a movie or something,” Perriman said. “It’s crazy just to be in this position, being able to play in a playoff game and games in January that really matter. Especially with how the beginning of my season started for me. It’s huge.”
Mike Evans is now the only one of the Bucs Big Three receivers left, but he’s impressed by what he’s seeing from the team’s depth. Having Perriman back as a midseason waiver pickup could pay huge dividends for the Bucs in the playoffs.
“They’re all proven players,” Evans said. “BP was with us, and he knows most of the guys on the team already. So that was an easy transition for him. I felt like he never left actually. I wish he was here last year to be a part of (winning the Super Bowl). But hopefully this year, we can get it. It’s been the same. We’ve just been working hard. Whoever is in, is in, and they have to make plays.”
If there is one thing Perriman has done in Tampa Bay, it is make plays. Over his past three games, Perriman has a 58-yard game-winning touchdown in overtime, and two long catches to set up first-and-goal situations. In the playoffs, with no Godwin or Brown to help Tom Brady out, Perriman will need to step up once again.