Sean Payton’s two-back system drew Samaje Perine to Denver
Samaje Perine spent three-plus seasons behind Joe Mixon in Cincinnati. He became a core special teams player and a valuable reliever.
But Perine never played more than 41 percent of the offensive snaps and never saw more than 133 touches with the Bengals.
Perine signed a two-year deal worth up to $7.5 million with the Broncos, feeling it was “the right time for me to branch out and try to establish myself somewhere else.”
New coach Sean Payton made a convincing pitch.
“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 told Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post on Thursday. “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.”
Perine will miss the Bengals, expressing his appreciation for coach Zac Taylor and the organization. But he could find a bigger role in Denver.
Payton used a two-back system in his 15 seasons in New Orleans, most recently pairing Alvin Kamara with either Mark Ingram (2017-18) or Latavius Murray (2019-20). Kamara and his backup averaged nearly identical touches.
The Broncos will get back Javonte Williams at some point this season, likely in October, after he works his way back from major knee surgery.
“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 [quarterback 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.”