Defensive end Romeo Okwara has agreed to stay with the Detroit Lions, a person familiar with the situation says.
The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the deal. Reports say the unrestricted free agent landed a $39 million, three-year contract.
Okwara had a career-high 10 sacks last season in his third year with the Lions and fifth in the NFL. The former Notre Dame standout played in 16 games for the New York Giants in 2016 as an undrafted rookie. Detroit claimed him off waivers after the Giants cut him in 2018 and he has been a solid and consistent player on shaky defenses.
In his first major moves related to free agency, first-year general manager Brad Holmes decided to keep Okwara after choosing to let Kenny Golladay go instead of using the franchise tag or giving him a long-term deal to retain the 27-year-old receiver.
Okwara has 20 career sacks in five seasons, starting in 28 of 67 games. He bolsters a defense that desperately needs his help. Detroit gave up 519 points and 6,716 yards last season, breaking team records set by its winless team in 2008 and ranking among the worst in NFL history in both categories.
The Lions are rebuilding their entire team, moving on without quarterback Matthew Stafford under center for the first time in 13 years. In January, they agreed to trade Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two future first-round draft picks and a third-round pick.
After getting a longer look at the roster with new coach Dan Campbell, the franchise decided to let one of its rare picks that panned out hit the market. Detroit drafted Golladay out of Northern Illinois in the third round, No. 96 overall, in 2017 and he had 183 receptions for 3,068 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Last season, though, Golladay had 20 catches for 338 yards and two scores in just five games.
The Lions signed Tyrell Williams last week shortly after the Las Vegas Raiders released him following two injury-filed seasons. Williams has 197 catches for 3,181 yards and 23 touchdowns in 69 games.
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