The Lions want Amani Oruwariye and he said he wants to stay, so a long-term deal seems to be in the offing.
A fifth-round pick of the Lions out of Penn State in 2019, Amani Oruwariye has started 29 games over the last two seasons and become nearly an every snap player. Things really came together in 2021, as he had six interceptions (third in the NFL) and otherwise showed himself as a shutdown corner. He missed the final three games with a broken thumb.
As he enters the final year of his rookie contract, Lions general manager Brad Holmes talked about getting a long-term deal done with Oruwariye in the same breath as tight end T.J. Hockenson earlier in the offseason.
Oruwariye spoke with the media on Wednesday, and said he wants a long-term deal from the Lions.
"Yeah, I love Detroit,” Oruwariye said Wednesday. “I mean, I love being here. I love everything it’s given me. It’s given me a chance to play in the NFL, so ideally that’s where I want to be at. But we’ll see.”"
Oruwariye didn’t elaborate much more, pushing the conversation toward his agent and the team.
Amani Oruwariye wants to earn spot among best corners in the NFL
However, via Kyle Meinke of MLive, Oruwariye did talk more about wanting to be regarded as a top cornerback in the NFL.
"I would love any kind of responsibility that that brings because to me, I think like I said before, if you’re a corner in this league, you’re working your tail off and you’re making plays to become that No. 1 corner,” Oruwariye said. “You want that respect around the league from receivers, from other corners, from everything. From your teammates in your locker room, so that’s always been the goal to be able to be that guy that has to step up to the plate every game, for sure.”"
From Week 12-15, his final four games of the season, Oruwariye posted the 14th-best Pro Football Focus grade among NFL starting cornerbacks (74.2, h/t to Pride of Detroit).
Oruwariye has to do what he did last year again before he can be in the class of cornerbacks drawing $15-$20 million per year. So what his new deal would look like right now is a little murky.
The Lions like Oruwariye, but should want to see more before really ponying up as if he’s an elite corner–a more back-loaded deal with palatable outs might be on their radar. He may want a shorter deal, on the idea he’ll prove himself to be in that elite class of shutdown corners in the coming couple of years. Then he can hit it really big on a new deal sooner, whoever gives it to him.
The Lions should be able to reach a deal with Oruwariye sometime this summer. Let’s ballpark it at a three or four-year extension with $8-$10 million per year in new money and 60-75 percent of the total guaranteed.