Extension Candidate: Browns LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Thanks in part to injuries, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah didn’t necessarily live up to his second-round billing through his first two seasons in the NFL. However, the linebacker stepped up in a big way during the 2023 campaign, and that performance could earn him an extension with the Browns in the coming months.

As Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com notes, “JOK” has emerged as an extension candidate for the organization. The reporter believes the Browns front office would prefer to lock up Owusu-Koramoah as soon as possible, either before the regular season or part way through the campaign. That way, the organization can assure the impending free agent is clear of any distractions in the follow-up to his breakout season.

After being selected with the 52nd pick in the 2021 draft, Owusu-Koramoah proceeded to earn All-Rookie team honors after finishing with 76 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles. He missed a chunk of that season with an ankle injury, but Pro Football Focus still graded him as a top-10 player at his position. The linebacker took a slight step back during his sophomore campaign. He missed six more games thanks to a foot injury, and he finished the year ranked only 38th at his position.

Fortunately for the player and the organization, Owusu-Koramoah took a significant leap this past season. The 24-year-old finished the campaign with 101 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two interceptions, earning him his first career Pro Bowl nod. Pro Football Focus ranked him 18th among 82 qualifying linebackers, including the second-best pass-rushing score at his position.

There’s a chance Owusu-Koramoah could solidify himself as a definitive top-10 linebacker with a strong performance in 2024. That would come at the perfect time for the fourth-year player, as he’s set to hit free agency following the season. JOK doesn’t have the track record to match the $18MM average annual value mark that’s been surpassed by Roquan Smith, Fred Warner, and Tremaine Edmunds, but he could still be in line for a lucrative pay day.

Patrick Queen leaped into the top-five AAV at the position this offseason following a strong year in Baltimore. The former first-round pick got a three-year, $41MM deal from the Steelers, good for a $13.6MM AAV. The LB franchise tag for 2025 is projected to be north of $25MM, so Owusu-Koramoah does have some leverage if the Browns truly intend to keep him long-term. The linebacker is set to earn around $2MM on the final year of his rookie contract in 2024.

The Browns also haven’t done a whole lot to add depth at the weakside linebacker spot, with former UDFAs Mohamoud Diabate and Charlie Thomas serving as JOK’s primary backups. Anthony Walker and Sione Takitaki both departed this offseason, meaning the Browns will be even more reliant on Owusu-Koramoah’s experience in the linebackers room next year.

For what it’s worth, Owusu-Koramoah said he’s not overly focused on his contract status, noting that “there‚Äôs a time and place for everything” (per Zac Jackson of The Athletic). More notably, the linebacker declared that he’s “all about ball,” which is surely the type of mentality the front office is seeking from the hopeful defensive stalwart.

View Comments (0)