Larry Ogunjobi

Bengals Make Three Waiver Claims

SEPTEMBER 2: To no surprise, the Bengals are indeed re-signing Allen, Thomas and Williams now that they have the open roster spots to do so, per a team announcement. Cincinnati is also placing safety Tycen Anderson and tackle Isaiah Prince on IR.

AUGUST 31: The Bengals have made some notable additions in the aftermath of yesterday’s roster cutdowns. Per the waiver wire, they have claimed tight end Devin Asiasiguard Max Scharping and defensive tackle Jay Tufele.

[RELATED: Bengals Expected To Sign TE Howard]

Asiasi came to New England with significant expectations, given his draft status and the organization’s success at the position. The third-rounder made just 10 appearances in his first two seasons, though, recording only a pair of receptions. The Patriots made a substantial free agent investment in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith last offseason, limiting his future with the team. In Cincinnati, he will face steep competition for playing time from Hayden Hurst and, in all likelihood, O.J. Howard.

Scharping is in a similar situation to Asiasi in terms of being an underwhelming high draft choice yet to finish their rookie contract. A 2019 second-rounder, the 26-year-old started 33 of the 48 contests he appeared in with the Texans, moving from the left to right guard spot this past season. Regardless of where he lined up, the Northern Illinois alum graded out in the mid-to-high 50s with respect to PFF rating, leaving him on the roster bubble. Scharping’s vacated spot is likely to be filled by A.J. Cann; he will challenge for a backup role behind top free agent addition Alex Cappa with the Bengals.

Tufele, meanwhile, has seen the least playing time of the new trio. As a rookie last season, he made just four appearances in Jacksonville, totaling two tackles. His PFF pass rush grade of 77 indicates some upside on third downs, which dates back to his time in college. Moving on from the USC alum so soon may have come as a surprise, though the additions of Folorunso Fatukasi and Adam Gotsis along the d-line were likely to significantly lessen his chance of seeing significant playing time with the Jaguars. The Bengals lost Larry Ogunjobi in free agency, but re-upped B.J. Hill, whom Tufele will look to provide depth behind his new home.

The defending AFC champions will return many of the members of last season’s team, but these additions could prove effective at areas of relative need. Among the cuts necessary to accommodate the new arrivals is veteran quarterback Brandon Allen. The 29-year-old signed a one-year deal for the third consecutive offseason to remain in Cincinnati.

For now, Allen’s departure leaves the Bengals with only Joe Burrow under center. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets, however, that Allen “will be back.” Cincinnati is also parting ways with safety Michael Thomas and running back Trayveon Williams.

Latest On Steelers DT Larry Ogunjobi

Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi joined the Steelers earlier this week, and it sounds like the organization is confident the acquisition will be on the field when practices resume. Ogunjobi underwent Lisfranc surgery this offseason but is expected to be ready for training camp, reports Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Steelers, DT Larry Ogunjobi Agree To Deal]

This isn’t a huge surprise; if the Steelers sensed there were any lingering issues with the player’s foot, it’s unlikely he would have passed their physical. Still, considering Ogunjobi’s ordeal this offseason, it’s still a positive development.

Ogunjobi suffered a season-ending foot injury in the Bengals’ wild-card win over the Raiders. He hit free agency following the season, and he eventually found a suitor in the Bears, agreeing to a three-year, $40.5MM deal. However, the foot injury forced him to fail his physical, and the contract was ultimately nixed. That botched deal seemed to hang over the defensive tackle for the much of the offseason; while he did land a workout with the Jets, it was otherwise quiet on the Ogunjobi front until he landed his deal with the Steelers.

The former third-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career with the Browns, starting 47 of his 60 games while collecting 180 tackles and 14.5 sacks. He inked a one-year deal with the Bengals last offseason and had one of the most productive seasons of his career. In 16 starts, the the 28-year-old collected 49 tackles and a career-high seven sacks.

Meanwhile, we’ve got some details on Ogunjobi’s deal with Pittsburgh. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), the defensive tackle got a one-year contract that can be worth up to $8MM. It’s uncertain what incentives Ogunjobi will have to meet, but considering his foot issues, there’s a good chance it’s tied to games played.

Steelers, DT Larry Ogunjobi Agree To Deal

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.

DT Larry Ogunjobi To Visit Steelers

One of the top defenders still on the open market is making another visit today. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is being hosted by the Steelers. 

The 28-year-old had a three-year, $40.5MM contract in place with the Bears at the onset of free agency. However, days later, a failed physical led to the deal falling through. The injury was suffered in Cincinnati’s Wild Card win over the Raiders, which ended Ogunjobi‘s one-year stint with the Bengals.

The contract he played on – worth $6.2MM – was a relative bargain for the eventual AFC champions, considering his production. Ogunjobi totalled 49 tackles and a career-high seven sacks, continuing his consistent statistical output from his time in Cleveland. With the former third-rounder presumed to be on his way to Chicago, the Bengals pivoted to B.J. Hill, signing him to a three-year extension.

Last month, Ogunjobi visited the Jets, a team which, like Cincinnati last year, has made a number of moves this offseason to bolster its defense. That didn’t result in a deal, though, leaving open the possibility for the Charlotte alum to make a second straight move within the AFC North.

Ogunjobi would be a welcomed addition along Pittsburgh’s defensive line. The team lost Stephon Tuitt to retirement this offseason, leaving an opening for a starting-caliber addition. It had been reported recently, on the other hand, that the Steelers were essentially content at the DL and CB positions, planning to spread Tuitt’s workload around to a number of incumbents. Ogunjobi would fill a significant void, and pair well with Cam Heyward along the team’s defensive interior, as it looks to rebound from last season’s disappointing performance against the run in particular.

Free Agent Stock Watch: DT Larry Ogunjobi

We were very close to not having to write this Stock Watch. In mid-March, free agent defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi signed a deal to join new head coach Matt Eberflus and new general manager Ryan Poles in Chicago. A failed physical led the Bears to call off the agreement, returning Ogunjobi to free agency. 

As I said before, Larry Ogunjobi embodies everything we are looking for in a Bear,” Poles said in a statement. “He is a special person and player. During the league’s negotiating window earlier this week, we agreed to terms with him, subject to him passing a physical here. After a standard and thorough physical and medical review with Larry yesterday afternoon, our medical team deemed him to have failed his physical and, therefore, unfortunately, we are not signing him today. This is difficult and it is emotional for everyone involved, but ultimately is what is in the best interest of protecting the Chicago Bears.”

Ogunjobi’s second free agent deal was set to earn $40.5MM over three years. He would have been entitled to a guaranteed $26.35MM at signing. Compared to his one-year, $6.2MM deal with Cincinnati last year, Ogunjobi was set for a substantial raise. Now, the 28-year-old is back on the market, searching for his next home.

Ogunjobi was a third-round pick out of Charlotte in 2017, getting drafted by the Browns. As a rookie, Ogunjobi was a rotational player. He played in 14 games, earning one start. Ogunjobi recorded 32 tackles, 1.0 sack, and 4.0 tackles for loss as a rookie.

He was named a starter on the line in his sophomore season and held down the job for the rest of his rookie deal, only missing two regular season games over his three years as a Browns’ starter. His second and third seasons were nearly identical. In each year, he recorded 5.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss. His stats dropped a little bit during his last year in Cleveland, but over his last three seasons with the Browns, he totaled 148 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and 25.0 tackles for loss.

Ogunjobi signed with the Bengals last offseason on the one-year deal mentioned above. Ogunjobi got back to his normal ways with his best season to date. He recorded 49 tackles, but added 7.0 sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss. Ogunjobi set himself up to be a premier, young pass-rushing defensive tackle.

Unfortunately, Ogunjobi was injured during the Bengals’ Wildcard victory over the Raiders. The foot injury would require surgery, ending Ogunjobi’s season with the Bengals. It was reported shortly after his contract with the Bears was cancelled that the failed physical stemmed from that injured foot. Poles offered that the failed deal would have prevented them from adding other free agents during the legal tampering period, as well, so the failed physical became a non-starter.

Regardless, the Bears set a clear market for the defensive tackle heading into his sixth NFL season. A three-year deal with an average annual value (AAV) of $13.5MM is a nod to the accomplishments of Ogunjobi’s young career, but maybe includes a knock for injury. The deal would have given him the tenth-highest AAV in the league. Besides outliers like three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, who is on a six-year deal, and expert run-stopper Brandon Williams, who just finished a five-year deal with the Ravens, most of the top defensive tackles in the league are signing three- to four-year deals.

Who lands Ogunjobi, then? Atlanta could certainly use a playmaker in the middle of the defensive line. Many thought they would make a move for UConn’s Travis Jones, who ended up going to Baltimore in the 2022 NFL Draft. Giving Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees Ogunjobi to pair with Grady Jarrett could do wonders for that defense. Similarly, the Saints would be more than happy to put Ogunjobi alongside David Onyemata. Shy Tuttle is currently set to start next to Onyemata, and Ogunjobi would be a big upgrade in production.

Ogunjobi visited the Jets in early May, but no deal was reached. You probably can’t rule out the Bears, though. Despite the unfortunate outcome, there was enough of a connection that the two reached a deal initially. The Bears did sign Justin Jones to fill their tackle role, but if Ogunjobi is able to pass a physical with the team, he would represent a substantial upgrade over Jones.

Whoever does decide to reach a deal with Ogunjobi, a similar contract to the Bears’ offer should be expected. Ogunjobi should expect a three- or four-year contract from $12MM-$15MM per year. The once-failed physical may take a chunk out of his guaranteed money, but Ogunjobi should still be looking forward to a big payday once he signs the dotted line.

Jets Meet With DT Larry Ogunjobi

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.

NFC North Notes: Alexander, Bears, Lions

The Packers were unable to reach an extension agreement with Davante Adams, leading to a blockbuster trade following a franchise tag. Brian Gutekunst would prefer the Jaire Alexander process conclude before a potential Alexander tag comes into play. The fifth-year Packers GM said the team “would love” to extend Alexander this offseason, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman (on Twitter). Gutekunst confirmed the Packers and Alexander are in talks, which became known earlier this month, and said the discussions could continue throughout the year. Alexander finds himself in an interesting position, coming off a season a shoulder injury mostly nullified. But the one-time Pro Bowler is still eyeing a top-market extension. Alexander figures to face a decision on playing out a contract year ahead of a potential tag or taking long-term security — at likely a slightly lower price — before the season.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Larry Ogunjobi was onboard with the Bears for fewer than five days, with the team nixing the defensive tackle’s deal due to a failed physical. New Bears GM Ryan Poles is open to agreeing to another contract with Ogunjobi, per ESPN.com’s Courney Cronin, who notes the failed physical stemmed from the former Browns and Bengals D-lineman’s surgically repaired right foot (Twitter link). Ogunjobi suffered a foot injury during the Bengals’ wild-card win. Poles noted the Bears’ deal with Ogunjobi prevented them from adding other free agents during the legal tampering period, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required).
  • Viewing Trevor Siemian as a better fit in the offense Luke Getsy is installing, Poles said (via Jahns) he hopes a Nick Foles trade emerges in the near future. But nothing is on the horizon, continuing this holding pattern for the former Super Bowl MVP. Foles is due a $4MM base salary in 2022, the final year of his contract. Foles has the Bears’ fourth-largest cap number ($10.7MM); a trade would let the Bears off the hook for Foles’ salary but still hand the team a $6MM-plus dead-money charge.
  • Although the Bears gutted their front seven by trading Khalil Mack, cutting Danny Trevathan and not re-signing Akiem Hicks, Poles said the team is not planning to move on from Robert Quinn. No Quinn trade scenario has come up, Poles said (via Jahns, on Twitter). Quinn’s $17.1MM cap figure is the largest on the Bears’ 2022 payroll. Despite going into his age-32 season, Quinn boosted his trade value last year by breaking Richard Dent‘s franchise single-season sack record.
  • Prior to Chandon Sullivan‘s Vikings agreement, the Packers made a late push to keep him, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Sullivan spent the past three seasons with the Packers, who have a need at slot cornerback thanks to his defection to a division rival. The Broncos also pursued Sullivan but signed K’Waun Williams days before news of Sullivan’s Vikings agreement surfaced.
  • The Lions will primarily use a 4-3 defense next season, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Detroit started last season by changing to a 3-4 look, but Aaron Glenn‘s unit adjusted a bit down the stretch. Prior to last season, the Lions had used a 4-3 look for many years.

Bears Nix Larry Ogunjobi Deal

The Bears announced that they have called off their agreement with defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Per the club’s press release, Ogunjobi failed his physical. 

As I said before, Larry Ogunjobi embodies everything we are looking for in a Bear,” GM Ryan Poles said in a statement. “He is a special person and player. During the league’s negotiating window earlier this week, we agreed to terms with him, subject to him passing a physical here. After a standard and thorough physical and medical review with Larry yesterday afternoon, our medical team deemed him to have failed his physical and, therefore, unfortunately, we are not signing him today. This is difficult and it is emotional for everyone involved, but ultimately is what is in the best interest of protecting the Chicago Bears.”

The contract was set to be worth $40.5MM over three years, with $26.35MM guaranteed. It was to be a huge pay bump for the 27-year-old (28 in June), but he’ll now have to find his next contract elsewhere.

Ogunjobi spent his first four seasons with the Browns before moving on to the Bengals last year. In 2021, he notched 49 tackles and seven sacks in 16 games. The investment in Ogunjobi – along with the likes of Trey Hendrickson and Chidobe Awuzie – paid off as the Bengals won the AFC North for the first time since 2015.

Unfortunately, his season was brought to a halt with a right foot injury before the divisional round. That same foot injury seems to have cost him his contract with Chicago.

With the ex-Bengal ruled out, the Bears have agreed to sign former Chargers defensive tackle Justin Jones (Twitter link via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). Jones, who graded out as a top-40 interior defensive lineman in 2020 per Pro Football Focus, will join the Bears on a two-year deal.

Bears Expected To Sign Larry Ogunjobi

The Bears have another key piece for their defensive line. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that the Bears are expected to sign defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune adds that the contract is worth $40.5MM over three years, with $26.35MM guaranteed (Twitter link). 

After four seasons with the Browns, Ogunjobi signed a one year, $6.2MM deal with the Bengals in March of last year. He was a huge part of their defensive overhaul and went on to record 49 tackles and seven sacks in 16 games. The investment in Ogunjobi – along with the likes of Trey Hendrickson and Chidobe Awuzie – certainly paid off, as the Bengals won the AFC North for the first time since 2015. Unfortunately, his season was brought to a halt with a right foot injury before the divisional round.

Ogunjobi saw a 68% snap share on defense during his time with the Bengals. He finished 2021 with 49 tackles, seven sacks, 12 total tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/17/22

Today’s minor transactions around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Los Angeles Rams

Tennessee Titans