Larry Ogunjobi is staying in the AFC North. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the defensive lineman, who spent the first four years of his career with the Browns, is heading to the Bengals on a one-year deal (Twitter link).
This represents yet another defensive acquisition for Cincinnati, which has added a pair of cornerbacks — Mike Hilton and Chidobe Awuzie — and defensive end Trey Hendrickson over the past several days. The Bengals have tangled with Ogunjobi two times per season since he entered the league as a third-round draft choice in 2017, and they were apparently impressed.
They also got him for less of a commitment than many expected. As of late January, Spotrac pegged Ogunjobi’s market value at three years and roughly $28MM, and as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com wrote at the time, the Browns were not going to be involved in the bidding if it got to that point. But Ogunjobi, as many players have done, elected to take a one-year pact with the hopes of hitting the market again in 2022, when the salary cap should dramatically increase.
Pro Football Focus was not high on Ogunjobi’s work in 2020, grading him as the 105th-best interior defender out of 125 qualifiers. But he has been a full-time starter since 2018 and has shown some ability to generate interior pass rush (14.5 career sacks) while holding up against the run. Just 26, he still might not have hit his ceiling, and his presence could allow the Bengals to part with stalwart Geno Atkins.
Atkins, who will turn 33 later this month, has been rumored as a cap casualty after an injury-marred 2020 season. His release would free up $9.5MM of cap room.
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