Bills Urged to Sign Lions Edge Rusher After Strong Season

Romeo Okwara

Getty Romeo Okwara celebrates a play in 2019 with Detroit.

The Buffalo Bills faced a significant salary cap crunch last offseason, but still managed to find a low-priced gem in edge rusher Leonard Floyd.

Now, with Floyd expected to leave in free agency after a career-best 10.5 sacks and the Bills likely priced out of the market for his next deal, it could be time for another bargain-bin addition to boost their pass rush.’s Anthony Licciardi predicts that the Bills could make a run at Detroit Lions edge rusher Romeo Okwara, who is coming off one of the most efficient years of his career but still expected to fetch a contract within Buffalo’s cost constraints.

Romeo Okwara’s Standout Season in Detroit

As Licciardi noted, Okwara has only been a starter in two NFL seasons — 2018 and 2020 — but managed to rack up 17.5 total sacks during those seasons. Despite a dip in the postseason, Okwara is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, the writer pointed out.

“It’s worth noting that he struggled fairly extensively in the playoffs, but he’s coming off one of the better regular seasons of his career,” Licciardi wrote. “Of the 118 edge rushers with 140 pass-rush snaps, he posted the 61st-best pass-rush win rate (11.2 percent), a mark higher than both Floyd and Epenesa. He also saw the 42nd-best pass-rush grade, per Pro Football Focus.”

The Bills are expected to see some significant turnover on defense, with edge rushers Leonard Floyd and A.J. Epenesa headed to free agency along with interior lineman DaQuan Jones.

Licciardi noted that Owkara could fill some of the void left with Floyd’s expected departure, though the Lions lineman is weaker against the run and mostly took the field only on passing downs. Licciardi added that PFF’s contract projection slots Okwara at a one-year, $2.75-million deal, which would be affordable for the Bills.

End of the Line for Leonard Floyd

The Bills will have a major hole to fill on the edge as Sportrac predicts that Floyd will earn a 2-year, $16.2-million contract in free agency — a price that would rule out a return to the cap-strapped Bills.

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia noted that Floyd made it clear he is looking for a big deal and would like to sign with a contender.

“The Floyd signing yielded an every-week starter and the team’s leader in sacks this season with 10.5. Even at 31 years old, Floyd became an indispensable piece of the defense early and paired with Greg Rousseau as the top two pass rushers on the roster,” Buscaglia wrote.

“Floyd did slow down near the end of the season, though, as he had only one sack over his last seven games. Regardless, Floyd can be an impact player with his length and pass-rushing awareness. He said he would follow the money and wanted to play for a Super Bowl contender.”

While the Bills are expected to fill some of the void through free agency and the NFL Draft, they could also look for a bigger role from veteran Von Miller. The All-Pro edge rusher had a slow start in the 2023 season after returning from a torn ACL, but had stronger performances down the final stretch of the regular season and playoffs.

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