Defensive end Romeo Blue Okwara, entering his fourth season in the NFL, has re-signed to the Detroit Lions for a second year, after spending his first two seasons in the league with the New York Giants.
Detroit Lions Sign Romeo Okwara
Okwara agreed to a two-year, second-round tender contract, averaging more than the tender minimum ($2.9 million) and with incentives, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Unless he receives a better deal and Detroit chooses not to match, he will rejoin Matt Patricia’s defense where he achieved 7.5 sacks, 14 QB hits, and 39 tackles in 14 games started of 15 played, all career highs. The Notre Dame alum spent the beginning of his first season as Jason Pierre-Paul’s de facto replacement, but Okwara fell out of favor after Pierre-Paul’s return and in 2017, a knee sprain caused him to miss much of the season and he was waived in the 2018 preseason, claimed by Detroit where he had a career year.
Tendering Okwara was one of several questions facing the Lions this offseason, as it was speculated that he was in danger of being let go by the team in favor of another New York defensive end, Olivier Vernon. There were reports that Patricia made contact with the Giants in attempts to obtain the Pro Bowler last week, but either the Giants decided not to accept any offers or the Lions decided sticking with Okwara was a better option, financially or otherwise.
The Lions have added plenty of former Giants on their roster under Patricia, including Damon Harrison, a defensive tackle that Detroit traded for from New York weeks before last season’s trade deadline. Linebackers Kelvin Sheppard and Devon Kennard were also ex-Giants on the Lions roster. It remains to be seen how Detroit will approach their biggest defensive free agent, their other defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who has 48 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in his first 6 seasons after being drafted 5th overall in 2013. He played last season under the franchise tag, but it was cut short due to knee and shoulder injuries. Other Lions defensive ends include Da’Shawn Hand and Eric Lee. Kerry Hyder and Ricky Jean-Francois, who line up at both Defensive Tackle and Defensive End, are both also free agents.
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