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Bengals claim Samaje Perine and Pharoh Cooper off waivers

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The Bengals love Oklahoma running backs.

Washington Redskins v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals’ backfield is a bit dicey as the regular season begins.

Rodney Anderson is now on injured reserve with a torn ACL, while Trayveon Williams has a foot injury that could cost him time in the regular season.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Bengals bolster their backfield depth by claiming former Washington running back Samaje Perine off waivers, according to

But that’s not all. The Bengals also claimed wide receiver Pharoh Cooper off of waivers from the Arizona Cardinals, per Field Yates.

Perine played college ball with the Oklahoma Sooners, which produced current Bengals running backs Joe Mixon and Rodney Anderson. I’d be willing to bet there’s been very few, if any moments in NFL history where a team had three running backs from the same school on the 53-man roster.

Perine and Mixon actually played together in college and entered the 2017 NFL Draft together. Mixon was a second-round pick via the Bengals, while Perine went to Washington in the fourth round.

Unfortunately for Perine, his career hasn’t been as productive as it has for Mixon. In two seasons, Perine carried the ball 183 times for 635 yards (3.5 avg) and one score. He also fell behind Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, and Chris Thompson to a degree since Thompson is the best pass-catching back they have, while Perine has just 25 career catches for 187 yards and one score. That made it easy for Washington to waive Perine, and he’ll now look to make his mark as a backup behind Mixon and Giovani Bernard.

As for Cooper, he was a former fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, where he would play for three seasons before being waived late in the 2018 season after he was activated off injured reserve following a major ankle injury in Week 1.

The Cardinals wound up claiming Cooper, and he’s been competing for a spot on their 53-man roster until being waived yesterday. He has 25 career catches for 190 yards and no scores with four fumbles.

While the Cardinals have one of, if not the worst roster in the NFL (the Dolphins want you to hold their beer after this weekend), wide receiver was a deep position for them.

Still, it’s a very odd decision to get Cooper when the Bengals already had seven quality receivers on their 53-man roster. But new Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has familiarity with Cooper from their two seasons together in Los Angeles, so perhaps Taylor wants Cooper to help implement his offensive system.

Also, Cooper does offer the Bengals another returner option on special teams. He has 61 career kickoff returns for 1,532 (25.1 avg) and one touchdown. He also has 45 punt returns for 483 yards (10.7 avg).

While both Cooper and Perine have yet to make their mark in the NFL, Perine did have quite the career while at Oklahoma, which included him breaking the NCAA single-game rushing record vs. Kansas in 2014:

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