In our 2020 iteration of Finding Free Agents, we’ll attempt to answer three questions for each player: Why would the Seahawks be interested? What would their contract look like? What is the likelihood they reach free agency? Throughout the series, we’ll be focused on specific positions of need in Seattle: Wide receiver, offensive line, defensive tackle and EDGE.
After three up-and-down seasons for Emmanuel Ogbah with the Browns, where the 26-year-old totaled just 12.5 sacks, he found himself on the outs of a rebuilt Cleveland defensive line. Ahead of the 2019 season, Ogbah was sent to the Chiefs in exchange for safety Eric Murray. Ogbah seemed to find his fit in Kansas City, posting career-highs in pressure rate (10.2, per SIS) and tying his career high in sacks with 5.5, before going on injured reserve in November. Now, Ogbah will enter unrestricted free agency in a deep EDGE class with inconsistent production through four seasons.
Why would the Seahawks be interested?
Ogbah has the body type (6-foot-4, 273 pounds with 35 1/2” arms) and get off (1.58 second 10-yard split in 2016) Seattle seeks in a defensive end. Should Jadeveon Clowney leave the Seahawks in free agency, Ogbah could potentially start on the edge on early downs—according to Pro Football Focus, Ogbah led his defense in run-stop percentage—and he provides flexibility to reduce inside in pass rush packages. If Ogbah can continue along the path he appeared to be on in his injury-shortened 2019, he’s become a pass rusher who can frequently disrupt the quarterback and at just 26, Seattle could be bringing him in just in time for his most productive seasons.
Pass rush is a huge need for the Seahawks and Ogbah would bring just that, along with the versatility to win inside in certain pass rush packages.
What would Ogbah’s contract look like?
With Ogbah’s strong play with the Chiefs in mind, it’s possible the pass rusher seeks a one-year deal in an attempt to put together a highly productive and healthy season, and re-enter the market in search of a long-term deal. If that was the case, Ogbah could potentially earn a figure on the high side of the $6 million to $8 million range. Even if Ogbah’s production stagnated to where it was in limited action in ‘19, that would be a palatable number.
On a longer term deal, a contract similar to the three-year, $18 million contract Alex Okafor signed with Kansas City last spring would be a good deal for both sides. Okafor sees $6 million APY, but his contract has incentives to raise it to $8 million through sacks and snaps. A similarly incentive-laden deal for Ogbah could allow him to bet on himself while also finding long-term security.
Will Ogbah reach free agency?
The Chiefs would surely like to retain Ogbah. As a contending team, a deep pass rush is a near-must and he was a clear fit in 2019. If a one-year deal is indeed what Ogbah seeks, he could prefer to run it back with a defense he found success with. Kansas City, however, has some massive commitments upcoming—a year after handing out big money to Frank Clark, Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu. Patrick Mahomes is extension-eligible, though the Chiefs don’t need to rush to get that done. Chris Jones looks set to play out 2020 on the franchise tag, while Kendall Fuller is set to become a free agent.
The Chiefs have the flexibility to retain Ogbah in the short-term, if they want to, but are unlikely to commit long-term. At the very least, Ogbah should reach unrestricted free agency to see what’s out there.