Lions player making himself a must re-sign in 2021

Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

This Detroit Lions’ defender is making himself a must re-sign next year

The Detroit Lions will head into the 2021 offseason not only looking to hire a new general manager and head coach, but the new regime will have to make some tough decisions about many their current players as well.

According to the Lions have 20 players set to become unrestricted free agents in March. And there are some big names in that group including wide receiver Kenny Golladay, kicker Matt Prater, wideout Marvin Jones, slot receiver Danny Amendola, safety Duron Harmon, defensive end Everson Griffen, and others.

One of the Lions’ biggest contributors scheduled to hit the open market is fifth-year defensive end, Romeo Okwara. Only 25-years old, Okwara is on pace to record a double-digit sack for the first time in his career. He is currently the team leader in that category for Detroit recording 7.0 sacks through 12 games.

The Lions somehow found Okwara available on the waiver wire prior to the start of the 2018 regular season after he was released by the New York Giants. Detroit claimed the young defensive end who originally went undrafted out of Notre Dame back in 2016, and the Lions were immediately rewarded for doing so.

Okwara led the defense with 7.5 sacks in his first season in Detroit. That total dipped to 1.5 sacks last year after he started in only a single game as his snaps fell from playing 73% of the team’s defensive snaps in his first season to 53% his second year.

The veteran pass rusher proved his worth in Sunday’s come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Bears on the road. Okwara had a pivotal strip-sack with less than 2:00 minutes left in the game that was recovered by the Lions at the Bears’ seven-yard line. That led to the go-ahead score and an eventual 34-30 comeback victory.

There are currently seven reasons why the Lions must re-sign Okwara in 2021. But there’s one big reason why he may want to sign a long-term deal in Detroit. And that’s family.

The Lions drafted Romeo’s little brother, Julian Okwara, in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The first-year defensive end played sparingly as a rookie this season, recording only 30 defensive snaps over four games before landing on Injured Reserve with a leg injury in October.

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If Romeo Okwara wishes to stick around and help his 22-year old younger brother develop as an NFL pass rusher, staying in the Motor City could be that much more attractive when it comes time to hash out a long-term contract extension.