The Saints reached an agreement to keep one of their top free agents off the market. They will retain defensive tackle David Onyemata, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. It’s a three-year, $27MM deal for Onyematta, Garafolo reported in a separate tweet.
Onyemata has recorded 7.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits over the past two seasons. He moved into the Saints’ starting lineup on a full-time basis last season.
Added in the fourth round in 2016, Onyemata graded well in the opinion of Pro Football Focus in 2017 and ’18. However, PFF viewed him as a lower-level performer upon moving into the starting lineup last season. That said, the 27-year-old defender was viewed as a player who could draw interest on the market. The Saints now have him locked down hours into the tampering period.
New Orleans entered Monday with less than $5MM in cap space. The team has still yet to re-sign Drew Brees, so some maneuvering must still commence to facilitate that. But the team moved forward with Onyemata nonetheless, which appears to be a clear sign the Saints view him as a key player going forward.