ESPN Insider reveals likely Lions' decision with notable internal free agent

The Detroit Lions have a free agency decision to make with Romeo Okwara, and an ESPN Insider pointed to the possibility their mind is already made up.

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The Detroit Lions need to find pass rush help this offseason, particularly off the edge to help Aidan Hutchinson. In that search, could they bring back one of their own free agents?

Romeo Okwara has led the Lions in sacks twice over his six seasons with the team. One of Brad Holmes' first moves as general manager was a contract extension for him, coming off a 10-sack season in 2020. Then an Achilles' tear in Week 4 of the 2021 season cost him the rest of that season, and a second surgery delayed his return to action in 2022. Last offseason, he took a big pay cut as his contract was restructured to allow him to stay in Detroit.

Okwara had just two sacks this season, over 16 games and 248 defensive snaps. It seems his Achilles' was not a notable lingering issue, insofar as any public indication it was an issue. H just didn't play a lot, and he was not impactful.

ESPN has published an offseason guide for all 32 teams, and in the Lions' section Dan Graziano mentioned Okwara.

The Lions seem sure to let Romeo Okwara go in free agency

"Once a big free agent signing for Detroit, Okwara has just five sacks over the past three seasons. His contract voids after the Super Bowl, and the Lions will be looking to upgrade their pass rush this offseason after tying for 23rd in sacks (41)."

With that in mind, it doesn't sound as if the Lions are prepared to bring Okwara back. Once a bright spot, his time in Detroit is likely over as that Achilles' tear diminished his impact over the last three seasons. It would be more of a surprise if he was re-signed than if he wasn't.

If the Lions elect to let Okwara walk in free agency, which again feels very certain, there will be ample potential options to replace him, be it in free agency, via trade or in the draft. It's just a matter of who will be deemed a fit.

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