We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Reported deal: Three years/$39 million
Few players have done more for their value than Romeo Okwara over the past few seasons. Okwara was released from the Giants on the final cut day of the 2018 season. In his three years with the Detroit Lions, Okwara has totaled 19 sacks and 42 quarterback hits. He exploded for 10 sacks this past season in his contract year.
Okwara finished the season 29th in pressure rate among 100 defensive ends/linebackers with at least 150 pass rush snaps, according to Sports Info Solutions. He was also 18th among 46 qualified edge rushed in Pass Rush Win Rate, per ESPN.
He’s not going to flash like one of the league’s best pass rushers, but he’s been able to convert his speed and power into pressure with the Lions. On the plus side, Detroit won’t be paying Okwara like a top-end pass rusher. His $13 million average annual value with be along the lines of Brandon Graham and Whitney Mercilus while below players such as Robert Quinn and Dante Fowler. It’s an expensive contract, but it’s not as if they’re paying at the complete top of the market as they did with Trey Flowers, who has an $18 million AAV with a $20 million cap hit for 2021.
The Lions are going to be rebuilding over the next few seasons, but it’s worth keeping a soon-to-be 26-year-old pass rusher on a deal that could be traded as a worst-case scenario if the rebuild doesn’t take off as planned.