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Detroit Lions re-signing edge rusher Romeo Okwara

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Less than 15 minutes after the free agents were allowed to speak to other teams, the Detroit Lions agreed on Monday to keep one of their top players and signed a three-year deal with edge rusher Romeo Okwara Network Report, according to an NFL.

The deal is reportedly valued at up to $ 39 million.

Okwara was warranted by the New York Giants just days before the start of the 2018 season and quickly became an integral part of Detroit’s defensive front.

Inactive for the first week of this season, he appeared in the last 15 games, played more than 70% of the team’s defensive snaps, and led the Lions with 7.5 sacks.

Its playtime and production declined significantly in its second season with the Lions. While continuing to pressurize quarterbacks at a rate similar to last year, it only collected 1.5 sacks in 2019.

But for Okwara, 25, everything seemed to come together last season. The 6-foot-4,263-pounder was one of the few bright spots in Detroit’s defense, again leading the team with 10.5 in sacks.

The underlying numbers were equally, if not more impressive. After an average of 37 quarterback presses over the past two seasons, Okwara finished ninth in the NFL last season and broke his pocket 61 times last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

In January, weeks after he was announced as the new Lions trainer, Dan Campbell admitted talking to Okwara and hoped to keep him in the group.

“I’d say man, I’m interested,” said Campbell. “You know, first and foremost I want people who want to be here. I want to make sure this is something they really want first, they want to be back and they want to be part of something special. That, for me is step # 1.

“Then Step 2 suits us?” Said Campbell. “Where are they financially? Where are we? What does this mean? What does this mean to us as we move forward? All of these things come into play.”

In the same interview with the Detroit News, Campbell noted that the Lions would stick to a defense system similar to the one run under former coach Matt Patricia, especially in the run-up.

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, who followed Campbell from New Orleans to Detroit, discussed how he envisioned deploying Okwara last month.

“Obviously Romeo had 10 sacks so he’s a pressure gamer,” said Glenn. “Every team in this league, every coach in this league wants a pressure player. So when he’s back with us and we hope we get a chance to get him back, he’s going to rush the quarterback. That’s what he does.” Best.”

Keeping Okwara keeps the team’s young, overtaken group intact, including Trey Flowers, 27, Austin Bryant, 24, and Romeo’s younger brother Julian, 23, whom the Lions drafted last year.

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Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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