The Cleveland Browns have a need for a reliable defensive end opposite Pro Bowl pass rusher Myles Garrett, and on Monday, they made an under-the-radar signing to try to fill that hole.
They agreed with Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on a three-year contract, and although at first glance he may seem like an underwhelming addition, he may have some upside.
Sources: Obo Okoronkwo is siging with the #Browns, getting a 3-year deal worth $19M with a chance to make $22M. He gets $12.5M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023
In 2022, his fourth season in the NFL, he finished with five sacks, 11 quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss, but he recorded the bulk of those numbers in his last eight games, all of which he started for the Houston Texans.
In fact, Pro Football Focus ranked him as its sixth-best edge defender after Week 7.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo graded was Pro Football Focus' sixth-best edge defender after Week 7 (when he came into the Texans starting lineup) #Browns
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) March 13, 2023
In addition, he had a very strong pressure rate in 2022.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) March 13, 2023
Okoronkwo will presumably replace incumbent starter Jadeveon Clowney, who is widely expected to leave in free agency after playing this past season on a one-year contract.
While the Browns could have a pretty formidable offense next season, especially after quarterback Deshaun Watson has a full training camp with his new teammates, their defense needs to improve big-time.
They ranked 20th in points allowed, 25th in rushing yards allowed and 29th in rushing touchdowns allowed.
Cleveland also reportedly restructured Watson’s contract, which will clear plenty of cap space that it could use to address its remaining needs.
The team could use one more threat at wide receiver, a backup running back behind Nick Chubb to replace Kareem Hunt, who is expected to leave, and perhaps some help in the secondary.