The Detroit Lions are reportedly bringing back defensive end Romeo Okwara. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Lions and Okwara have agreed to a two-year deal:
The #Lions agreed to a two-year contract with DE Romeo Okwara, source said. Deal averages more than the 2nd-round RFA tender number with incentives on top. Locking up young player who flourished in first season under Matt Patricia with 7.5 sacks.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 1, 2019
According to Pelissero, the deal is worth more than a second-round tender, and since the 2019 NFL salary cap has been officially set at $188.2 million, here’s a look at what that figure may look like:
With a 6.21% increase in the NFL salary cap to $188.2M, the RFA tenders are:— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) March 1, 2019
1st round: $4.407M
2nd round: $3.095M
So the two sides have agreed on a two-year deal worth more than $6 million total. And by agreeing to terms, the Lions have made sure that Okwara is wrapped up for the next two years. Had the Lions chosen to give Okwara the second-round tender, opposing teams could have offered the defensive end a better contract, giving Detroit only a second-round draft pick in return.
Okwara first joined the Lions right after the roster cutdown in 2018. He quickly became a very important part of the defense, taking up the role that Ezekiel Ansah was supposed to before injury. By the season’s end, no defensive linemen finished with more snaps than Okwara, and he turned those 716 opportunities into 39 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits.
By signing Okwara, the Lions have made sure they’ll have some important depth on the defensive line, but this doesn’t change their serious need at the position. While Okwara nicely set the edge, he didn’t bring a lot of consistent pressure throughout the year, despite his respectable sack numbers. Still, at just 23 years old, there is room for Okwara to grow.
UPDATE: Okwara’s teammate (both from Detroit and New York) Damon Harrison Sr. seems pretty happy about the move:
Oh yeahhhhhhhhhh @RomeoND45 let me hold something now!!! Congrats brooo!!— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) March 1, 2019
UPDATE 2: The Lions have made it official: