How does Bobby Okereke slot in Giants protection? Why New York added former Colts LB

The Giants resorted to beginning retreads signed off the road at inside linebacker of their two playoff video games final season. It was painfully apparent the place wanted an overhaul after they allowed 268 yards dashing in a 38-7 loss to the Eagles within the divisional spherical.

So on the primary day of free company, Giants normal supervisor Joe Schoen landed one of many high inside linebackers in the marketplace. Bobby Okereke has agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with $22 million assured, a league official with data of the deal confirmed.

Okereke, who was No. 38 on The Athletic’s checklist of the highest 150 obtainable free brokers, spent the previous 4 seasons with the Colts. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder made an impression within the Giants’ 38-10 win over the Colts in Week 17 with 17 tackles and an pointless roughness penalty for a late hit on quarterback Daniel Jones. Obviously there have been no arduous emotions, since Okereke is now becoming a member of Jones as one of many Giants’ highest-paid gamers.



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How he matches: Okereke instantly steps in because the Giants’ high inside linebacker. He performed 85 p.c of the defensive snaps final season in Indianapolis and 98.4 p.c of the snaps in 2021. He’s clearly a three-down linebacker, and he’ll be anticipated to fill that position in New York.

Okereke’s energy is run protection, which ought to assist a unit that allowed the sixth-most dashing yards final season. Okereke isn’t a legal responsibility in protection, and he has the bodily traits to enhance in that space. He has three interceptions and two sacks in 4 seasons.

2023 impression:
Okereke offers the Giants a top quality, confirmed NFL linebacker, which was missing from the roster earlier than his signing. His presence will permit 2022 sixth-round decide Darrian Beavers or a draft decide this yr to develop on the different inside linebacker spot. The Giants additionally re-signed Jarrad Davis, who stepped into the lineup after signing late final season, as a veteran possibility.

Okereke was compelled to step into an even bigger position final season with Colts All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard restricted to a few video games by harm. Okereke proved as much as the duty, posting profession highs in tackles (151) and tackles for loss (6).

History: Okereke is a first-generation American because the son of Nigerian mother and father. An Eagle Scout, Okereke attended Stanford, the place he succeeded former Giant Blake Martinez at inside linebacker. Okereke ran a 4.58-second 40-yard sprint on the 2019 scouting mix, posting robust ends in his 10-yard cut up, the broad soar and the three-cone drill. A 3rd-round decide by the Colts in 2019, Okereke has missed simply two video games in 4 seasons. The 26-year-old has made 49 profession begins.

Cap replace: The Giants entered free company with about $20 million in salary-cap area. The construction of Okereke’s contract isn’t but identified, however it’s protected to imagine his 2023 cap hit can be decrease than the $10 million common annual worth.

The inside linebacker market was lively on the primary day of free company, with Tremaine Edmunds’ signing a four-year, $72 million contract with the Bears. Okereke landed the following greatest contract for an inside linebacker. There had been extra economical contracts for Germaine Pratt with the Bengals (three years, $20.3 million), TJ Edwards with the Bears (three years, $19.5 million) and David Long with the Dolphins (two years, $11 million).

This is the kind of transfer Schoen forecast. Okereke is a significant improve at a place of nice want, however it’s not a top-of-the-market deal. The Giants have too many holes to overspend at one place, so they should proceed spreading cash to patch their weaknesses. More reinforcements on protection are wanted, and Schoen additionally has so as to add weapons within the passing sport.

(Photo: Michael Allio / Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images)

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