Larry Ogunjobi is now one team short of the AFC North cycle. The former Browns and Bengals defensive tackle met with the Steelers on Tuesday, and the visit produced an agreement.
The sixth-year veteran agreed to a one-year deal with the Steelers, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This addition comes not long after longtime Steelers defensive line starter Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement. The Steelers have since announced the signing.
For Ogunjobi, this represents an end to his lengthy free agency stay. The veteran starter reached an agreement to join the Bears earlier this offseason, but an issue with his physical nixed the deal. Ogunjobi, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in the Bengals’ wild-card win over the Raiders, then spent the next three months looking for another gig.
The Jets also hosted Ogunjobi as well, but the Steelers will make him part of their post-Tuitt equation. Pittsburgh used Chris Wormley extensively in place of Tuitt last season, one the stalwart D-lineman missed all of due to an injury and the mourning of his brother’s recent death. The Steelers struggled to stop the run, ranking last in that department in 2021. They have now added Ogunjobi and third-round D-lineman DeMarvin Leal this offseason, though Tuitt walking away before his 30th birthday could still sting.
This Pittsburgh agreement almost certainly is far off the pact Ogunjobi had in place with Chicago (three years, $40.5MM). On that end, this offseason represents a major blow for the 28-year-old defender. The former Browns third-round pick entered free agency for the first time when the salary cap plummeted due to the pandemic and saw a lingering injury harpoon a lucrative contract a year later. That will make Ogunjobi’s Steelers work pivotal for his future earning potential. There is a real possibility Ogunjobi will never see a better offer than the one the Bears made in March, but the Charlotte alum will benefit from playing opposite perennial Pro Bowler Cam Heyward this season.
Playing on a line featuring Trey Hendrickson last year, Ogunjobi recorded a career-high seven sacks and 16 quarterback hits. Ogunjobi, who spent the first four seasons of his career on primarily Myles Garrett-led lines, registered 5.5 sacks in both the 2018 and ’19 seasons. The Steelers have led the NFL in sacks five years running, and they secured the services of a solid supporting-cast talent for their 2022 iteration.