Los Angeles Rams Free Agent Profile: EDGE Romeo Okwara

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams will be looking for an edge rusher this offseason. However, with not a lot of cap space, that will be easier said than done. Premier pass rushers do not come at a cheap price. Leonard Floyd is set to hit the free agent market, leaving just Terrell Lewis, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and Justin Hollins as the only realistic options. Former Lions edge rusher Romeo Okwara could be a name that the Rams explore.

The Rams are going to need to do their due diligence as they have in the past and find a bargain player that can produce in their defense. One of those potential bargain players could be Okwara.

Career-to-date

Okwara went undrafted in 2016 and was signed by the New York Giants, making four starts and recording one sack. He spent most of the next season on IR before getting cut in the 2018 offseason.

The former Notre Dame defensive end was then signed by the Detroit Lions. It was in Detroit where he finally got a taste of success. In his first season with the Lions, he started 14 games and tallied 7.5 sacks. He had a down-year in 2019, but in a contract year, he bounced back with a 10 sack performance last season.

Okwara tallied more sacks last season than he had in his entire career. It’s worth wondering if Okwara can continue producing consistently on a year-to-year basis or in a non-contract year.

How Would Romeo Okwara fit with the Rams?

Okwara hasn’t been seen as an elite pass rusher throughout his career, but he’s certainly outperformed his undrafted status. Okwara would be a perfect fit lining up on the outside as a pass rushing linebacker.

The Rams will be looking for bargain free agents. Okwara won’t command the $15M or more of the elite pass rushers. However, with Aaron Donald getting a majority of the focus, there’s little doubt that Okwara could produce with this defensive personnel.

The Rams have traded for bargain players like Dante Fowler and signed players like Leonard Floyd. Both of those players resurrected their careers in Los Angeles. While Okwara doesn’t need a career resurrection, he is a freak athlete would could produce just as well.

Romeo Okwara Free Agency Outlook

Still, Okwara won’t be cheap. At 25 years old. Okwara is an ascending player who does things right in all aspects of the game and that includes special teams. Despite that, with players like Von Miller, Bud Dupree, Mellin Ingram, Shaquil Barrett, and more set to be available, Okwara could fly under the radar.

His body of work is not as complete as some of the other pass rushers available in free agency, but he can definitely produce.

Spotrac currently has Okwara’s market value set at three years, $30.3M with an average salary of $10.1M per year. That might be right on the edge of what the Rams are willing to spend on a pass rusher. Given that guys like Yannick Ngakoue, Barrett, Ingram, and others will be more than $15M, Okwara’s $10M price tag isn’t that bad.

Okwara won’t be among the first edge rushers signed, but definitely watch for him to have a market in the second wave which is when the Rams will look to pounce.

 

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