What did the Cleveland Browns get with Ogbonnia Okoronkwo signing?
A welcomed sight for Cleveland Browns fan: the team has signed a free agent that wasn't on the team last season! After signing Sione Takitaki and Ethan Pocic earlier on this first day of "legal tampering" in the NFL, the team appears to have agreed to terms with an edge rusher, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, former of the Houston Texans.
Okoronkwo was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He stuck around in L.A. for three seasons, winning a Super Bowl in 2021-22, before signing with the Texans last offseason.
In 2022, Okoronkwo provided a bleak Houston defense with at least a little bit of a spark with his ability to rush the passer. He earned an 81.9 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus, with the third-highest pressure rate in the NFL.
Even as part of a weak Houston defensive roster, Okoronkwo managed 5.0 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 11 QB hits and 44 tackles, while playing all 17 games for the Texans front. Overall, he ranked in the top 30 edge defenders, per PFF, now pairing with the number one guy in Myles Garrett.
Okoronkwo is a very instinctual pass rusher, with moves and countermoves that allow him to get to the quarterback. He has great burst and bend around the edge, a relentless motor, packs a powerful punch off the snap, and can play on either side of the line.
While he doesn't have the size to bump inside or truly take on blocks effectively in the run game (like guys such as Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas already on the Browns roster) Okoronkwo uses his block-shedding and penetrating ability to be effective on early downs as well.
Like Takitaki and Pocic earlier, the Browns seemed to have gotten Okoronkwo at a bit of a bargain. Reports are that they will be signing him to a three-year deal worth $19 million. An average of $6.3 million per year.
While it isn't the HUGE splash that some Browns fans are seeking, this is the type of signing that they should expect this offseason. Despite some financial flexibility from a restructure of Deshaun Watson's contract, the team doesn't have a ton of money to be throwing at these big-named free agents.
If the right opportunity arises, sure, they could make a bigger move. But for now, Okoronkwo gives defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz another pass rusher alongside Myles Garrett, replacing Jadeveon Clowney, and is a perfect complement for what the team already has in the defensive end room.