The New York Giants haven’t wasted time fixing a long-standing weakness at inside linebacker. Instead, Big Blue made a “big splash” in the early hours of 2023 NFL free agency by signing Bobby Okereke from the Indianapolis Colts on Monday, March 13.
A four-year deal worth $40 million, “with $22M guaranteed” was reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
It’s a 4-year, $40M deal with $22M guaranteed. https://t.co/ACXH3V73Om
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023
The agreement means the Giants have managed to bolster their talent at a problem position, despite some high-profile inside linebackers already being taken off the market. Among them, Philadelphia Eagles’ starter T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds of the Buffalo Bills joined the Chicago Bears, who had considered signing Okereke, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.
As Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo noted, Okereke made himself known to the Giants by making 17 tackles against Big Blue in Week 17 last season. The 26-year-old also failed to endear himself to Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones:
Best way to make a pitch to a team as a free agent: Play well against them. Bobby Okereke had 17 tackles against the #Giants on New Year’s Day. Was a rare bright spot for the #Colts that day. As for this hit, eh, water under the bridge with Daniel Jones now. https://t.co/Bbqw4JL10g
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 13, 2023
Whether or not Okereke’s late hit on Jones is indeed “water under the bridge,” the Giants are adding a productive and active linebacker ideal for coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale’s defense.
New Giant Has Star Potential in ‘Wink’ Martindale’s Defense
Okereke stood out on a struggling Colts’ unit in 2022. He was in on 151 tackles, including 99 solo stops and six tackles for loss, per Pro Football Reference.
The Giants may be concerned about 11 missed tackles, but Okereke generally has no problem hunting down the opposition and flying to the ball. Martindale will want to channel the four-year pro’s natural aggression in more creative ways.
In the Giants’ defense, more creative usually means blitzing. Martindale can be encouraged by Okereke’s pressure statistics from 2021, when he blitzed 38 times and registered a sack and three pressures.
The Giants blitzed a league-high 39.7 percent …read more