Lions Agree to Re-Sign Key Defensive Stud: Report

Da'Shawn Hand Romeo Okwara

Getty Da'Shawn Hand celebrates with Romeo Okwara.

The Detroit Lions are looking to get their team going for 2021, and have reportedly taken a major step toward fielding a much better defense next year.

According to report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Lions are bringing back free agent edge rusher Romeo Okwara on a three-year, $39 million dollar deal.

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As Rapoport said, the Lions wanted to make sure they found a way to keep Okwara around given what he has meant to the defense in the last few seasons.

As Rapoport pointed out, while the Lions did not use the franchise tag on Okwara, he was an important player to bring back for the team and one they keyed in on.

Now, the Lions will set out to address the rest of their free agency needs with a big player back in the mix.

Romeo Okwara Accounted for Most of Lions Pressure Up Front

Why bring Okwara back? Okwara has been a fixture up front for the last few seasons after he was a waiver wire find of the team, and has come into his own as a pass rusher since. Okwara has become great playing for the Lions, and has felt like the team’s only viable pass rush threat in parts of his best seasons on the field.

There’s a new stat that all but completely proves this is the case. According to Pro Football Focus, Okwara himself accounted for 28.9% of the team’s pressures up front last season. That’s a pretty wild total realizing how many edge defenders there are on a team.

Okwara carried the Detroit attack last season from a sack and pressure perspective, and his consistency was the only reason the Lions were able to maintain pressure at all on the pocket. Knowing this, it’s good news he is coming back for the team.

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Romeo Okwara Stats

If there’s been one dangerous pass rusher this past season for the Lions that has stepped up, it’s Okwara, who came alive at the right time for Detroit most of the 2020 season. As a whole this season, Okwara managed to collect the most sacks of any Lions player (10) and he also thrives on creating pressure and panic in the pocket. With this in mind, it’s fair to say that Okwara figures to drive the bus for Detroit in terms of pass rush and has been going it alone most of the time in Detroit. That could only boost his stock when all is said and done this offseason.

As a whole, Okwara has 16 sacks to this point in his career coming into 2020 and lost a few seasons to nagging injuries. This season, he looked all but sure to pass his high water mark of 7.5 sacks from a few years back and that happened easily.

Okwara will represent a young pass rusher coming into his own on the market, and knowing that, he could be a popular player when all is said and done. The Lions managed to get their own player taken care of with a brand new deal in this case.

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