Back during March’s owners meetings, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes noted that they have already had internal discussions about potentially re-signing veteran cornerback Amani Oruwariye to a long-term deal.
“Amani, with the ball production he had and just being a good teammate, he really developed as a leader,” Holmes said. “He’s going to be another one—he’s still a young guy—that as is often said, still has meat left on the bone. There’s still upside in him.”
On Wednesday, Oruwariye met with the media in the midst of offseason workouts, and while he didn’t provide an update on if there have been any talks with him about a new deal—he’s leaving that between the team and his agent—he did express his desire to sign a long-term deal with the team.
“Absolutely, yeah. I love Detroit,” Oruwariye said. “I love being here. I love everything it’s given me–giving me a chance to play in the NFL. Ideally, that’s where I want to be at.”
Last year was a breakout season for Oruwariye. He tallied six interceptions on the season—third-most in the NFL—and posted a collective PFF grade of 74.2 in his final four games of the season, good for 14th among starting corners over that span (Week 12-15—Oruwariye finished the season on IR after injuring his thumb). Oruwariye credits comfortability in defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn’s scheme for his improvement in the latter half of the season.
“As the year went on, I think guys got comfortable,” Oruwariye said. “Obviously there was a lot of guys rotating in and out, so just getting comfortable with the guys and the system. Towards the later weeks, we got better and we got more comfortable. Just got to put myself in position to make plays.”
It’s unclear what kind of payday Oruwariye is due. Last year, he served as the team’s No. 1 cornerback and had a career season. But he doesn’t quite belong in the conversation of the shutdown cornerbacks in this league that earn $15-20 million a year. Oruwariye, though, is striving to reach that true No. 1 shutdown cornerback status.
“You want that respect around the league, from receivers, from other corners, from everything. From your teammates, your locker room,” Oruwariye said. “So that’s always been a goal, to be able to be that guy that has to step up to the plate every game.”
Typically, the Lions have waited until the summer to give their players extensions. So don’t expect any movement until then.