Larry Ogunjobi had a deal in place with the Bears early this offseason, but his January injury led to it falling through. The former Browns and Bengals defensive tackle has since spent the past several weeks back in free agency.
The Jets have surfaced as a suitor, showing their interest by hosting the veteran D-lineman on a visit over the past two days, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Ogunjobi, 27, is coming off a strong season, but one that ended by a foot injury sustained in the Bengals’ wild-card game. The subsequent surgery has cost the five-year pro.
Ogunjobi played last season on a one-year, $6.2MM deal, being one of many vets to ink 2021-only pacts after the COVID-19 pandemic led to a steep salary cap reduction. The strategy was on the cusp of paying off, with the longtime Browns starter playing a key role in the Bengals’ surprise playoff run. The Bears were prepared to give Ogunjobi a three-year, $40.5MM deal — one that included $26.35MM guaranteed — but his physical ended up nixing the agreement.
Robert Saleh‘s first Jets defense ranked last in both points and yards allowed, but the team has been busy bolstering it this offseason. Sauce Gardner and Jermaine Johnson arrived in the first round, joining the likes of D.J. Reed, Jordan Whitehead and Solomon Thomas. If healthy, Ogunjobi would obviously provide a boost to the team’s Quinnen Williams-fronted D-tackle group.
Role players like Thomas, Vinny Curry and Sheldon Rankins accompany Williams currently. Ogunjobi would profile as a starter, coming off a career-high seven-sack season that also featured 12 tackles for loss. The former third-round pick registered 5.5 sacks in both the 2018 and ’19 slates with the Browns. Shortly after Ogunjobi’s Bears agreement became known, the Bengals opted to give a slightly lesser deal (three years, $30MM) to B.J. Hill. Chicago did not back out of its Ogunjobi pact until four days later, representing one of the tougher breaks a player has endured this offseason.