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NFL Draft

Romeo Okwara Returns To Detroit After Breakout 2020 Season

  • The Draft Network
  • March 15, 2021
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Free agency has officially kicked off. 

In hindsight, the news is a player returning to his prior organization, but Romeo Okwara’s return to Detroit is a massive re-sign as newly hired head coach Dan Campbell enters his first season in control for the Lions. 

According to Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth $39 million over three years to keep the 25-year-old edge defender in the Motor City. 

After a slow start to his career, recording just 10 sacks over his first five seasons, Okwara matched his career total during the 2020 campaign. The former Notre Dame standout also set career highs in tackles (44), tackles for loss (22), and forced fumbles (three). He served as the rare bright spot on an otherwise sub-par pass rush last season generating 61 total pressures—fifth-most among edge rushers—to go along with his 10 sacks. For comparison, the next closest Lions defender, Reggie Ragland, earned 21 pressures. 

Within an elite edge market, Okwara was priority No. 1 for general manager Brad Holmes who received little production upfront from Everson Griffen, Danny Shelton, and Trey Flowers (despite injury).

Okwara’s contract is a much-deserved payday and a great story for the former undrafted free agent. The edge rusher not only represents an anchor for future Detroit defensive units, but he also gets to keep playing with his brother, Julian, a defensive end, who was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Okwara, along with 2020 first-round pick Jeff Okudah, represents the future on defense for the Lions, and Detroit didn’t take long to keep him in town.

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