Tag:Amobi Okoye
Posted on: February 28, 2012 12:00 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 11:17 am
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Defensive tackle rankings

Follow all our 2012 free-agent rankings (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the defensive tackles.

Unlike our previous free-agent breakdowns, the defensive tackles lack big names and depth; but that doesn't mean their roles have diminished. Getting into the backfield is more important now than ever, and while sacks aren't necessarily a hallmark of the position, disrupting what the offense wants to do certainly is. And that's where some of the names below excel.

1. Paul Soliai

Breakdown: Soliai spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Dolphins. They thought so much of him that they franchised him before the 2011 season. The two sides have yet to agree on a long-term deal, although it isn't from a lack of trying. With the Dolphins likely switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, the nose tackle looks to be headed for free agency. Six-four, 355-pound space-eaters seldom have trouble finding work and we suspect that'll be the case for Soliai, too.

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Chargers, other 3-4 teams with cap room and a need for a nose tackle.

2. Sione Pouha

Breakdown: The Jets' defense wasn't the reason the team imploded down the stretch last season, but the unit wasn't as good as it had been during Rex Ryan's first two seasons in New York. Luckily, the Mark Sanchez-Santonio Holmes afterschool special obscured all that. But locker-room catfights aside, the Jets' defense has to get better in 2012 and that starts up the middle. Pouha is a run-stuffing nose tackle who at 33 shows no signs of slowing down. Because of the Jets' precarious salary-cap situation, they have no plans to tag Pouha, but as the Newark Star-Ledger's Jenny Vrentas noted last week, "Pouha is coming off a strong season and also has leverage because Kenrick Ellis, last year's third-round draft pick, is not yet ready for the role."

Possible landing spots: Patriots, Chargers, Chiefs.

3. Jason Jones

Breakdown: Jones is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the NFL. At 6-5, 276, he might appear undersized for the tackle position but he had 12.5 sacks playing primarily inside during his first three seasons. But under a new coaching staff in 2011, Jones played both tackle and end and saw his numbers slip (he had just three sacks). Following the season, he admitted that how the Titans plan to use him could determine the likelihood he re-signs. Earlier this month, Titans head coach Mike Munchak said (via the Tennessean) “We’re going to use him whatever way we think is best to win football games. Obviously, if we felt leaving him at defensive tackle for every snap was the way to go, we would have done that. We didn’t do that. So now it’s just a matter of us having the right mix and having him feel good about it."

The Titans and Jones have begun contract talks but he appears headed for free agency.

Possible landing spots: Eagles, Broncos, Colts.
                                                                          (US PRESSWIRE)

4. Antonio Garay

Breakdown: Word on the street is that the Chargers will release defensive end Luis Castillo and hope to re-sign Garay and Tommie Harris (though both will be allowed to test free agency). At 32, Garay's best days may be behind him, but at the right price he makes a lot of sense. Pro Football Weekly noted several weeks ago that "Many believe Garay wore down at the end of the year, as he was not used to playing three downs for an entire season. With a capable backup in place, a better rotation would allow the lineman to stay fresh for the entire grind of the year."

The nose tackle rotation would include 2010 fifth-rounder Cam Thomas.

Possible landing spots: Defenses running the 3-4 and looking for a savvy, reasonably priced, two-down veteran. Patriots, Steelers, Cardinals.

5. Brodrick Bunkley

Breakdown: Bunkley washed out as the Eagles' 2006 first-round pick but experienced a rebirth of sorts in Denver last season. "There was at least some injury concern when Bunkley went to the Broncos," the Denver Post's Jeff Legwold wrote earlier this month, "but once he arrived, he didn't miss a practice on the way to playing in every game in the 2011 season. His statistics were modest on the surface — 43 tackles and no sacks — but his teammates, particularly the ones who have been with the Broncos for a while, say he was a key part of any improvement the team made defensively over 2010."

Team president John Elway, taking a break from talking Tim Tebow, offered this. "He really played well. Like all of our free agents, we would like to get them back in the building and consider (re-signing them)."

Possible landing spots: Broncos, cash-strapped teams looking for affordable depth.

6. Aubrayo Franklin

Breakdown: New Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have to decide whether Franklin is worth re-signing but if not, Franklin could have a future as a nose tackle. "The nine-year veteran signed just a one-year, $4 million contract with New Orleans in '11, playing tackle in the 4-3 after the 3-4 market never really developed for him," Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli wrote in mid-February. "Two personnel directors at the Super Bowl last week mentioned Franklin as a possible 'sleeper' at the position." Which means Franklin could be in demand with 3-4 teams, or teams looking to move to the 3-4.

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Patriots, Steelers, Redskins.

7. Shaun Rogers

Breakdown: Remember when Rogers did this? (Tebow never lets that happen, by the way.) After stints in Cleveland and New Orleans, Rogers had developed a reputation for taking plays off. In 2011, he got off to a slow start with the Saints but improved as the season progressed. New Orleans could choose to give him a short-term deal, but it's just as likely that Rogers is headed for free agency. 

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Saints.

8. Amobi Okoye

Breakdown: Okoye was 19 years old when the Texans took him out of Louisville in the first round of the 2007 draft (10th overall). He never lived up to expectations in Houston, and Chicago signed him to a one-year deal before the 2011 season. He played in 16 games for the Bears and had 18 tackles and four sacks. Last week, head coach Lovie Smith said "Amobi had a heck of a year," and sounded like the organization would make a real effort to keep him. On Sunday, CSNChicago.com's John Mullin wrote that "the Bears had contract talks late last season (with Okoye) and likely will have re-signed before the outset of free agency."

Possible landing spots: Chicago.

9. Albert Haynesworth

                                                                          (US PRESSWIRE)
Breakdown: Haynesworth makes the list on reputation alone. And we mean his pre-Redskins reputation, when Jim Washburn got the most out of the man now known as one of the biggest free-agent busts in recent years. Not even Bill Belichick could revive Haynesworth's career, cutting him midway through last season.

The Bucs signed him only to release him a few weeks ago. Maybe his career is over, but then again, coaches and GMs are seduced by potential. And Haynesworth certainly has plenty of that.

Possible landing spots: Realistically, Haynesworth's probably done. That said, we wouldn't be shocked if the Redskins signed him to another $100 million deal.

10. Tommie Harris

Breakdown: Injuries derailed a great career in the making for the Bears' former first-round pick. Chicago released Harris before the 2011 season, and after a brief stopover with the Colts, he made a home in San Diego. He played so well, in fact, that the Chargers are hoping to re-sign him and Garay to provide depth for a crop of young defensive linemen.

Possible landing spots: Teams looking for depth.

Honorable mention

Rocky Bernard, Kelly Gregg (possible retirement), Pat Sims, Jimmy Kennedy, Kyle Love (RFA), Trevor Laws

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Bears land Marion Barber, Amobi Okoye

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It took a couple days, but the Bears have finally gotten going in free agency.

Already, they had signed former Cowboys WR Roy Williams and taken a chance on former Jets LB Vernon Gholston, and Saturday night, the team added more pieces, announcing that it’s come to terms with former Cowboys RB Marion Barber and former Texans DT Amobi Okoye.

The team said Okoye’s contract is a one-year deal, while NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora writes Barber’s contract is for two years and $5 million.

Considering Bears RB Matt Forte isn’t happy right now and has threatened to hold out because he’s slated to make only $550,000 in base salary this year -- he has reported, by the way -- Chicago’s move seems like one that could help change Forte’s attitude. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune pointed out, you also have to wonder about Chester Taylor's future with the organization. 

Barber had a hard time staying healthy in Dallas, and earlier this week, he was dropped in favor of rookie DeMarco Murray. Meanwhile, Okoye, a former first-round pick, hasn’t been all that productive since he recorded 5 ½ sacks in his 2007 rookie season, recording just 5 ½ sacks since then.

Now, both get a chance to rejuvenate their careers in Chicago.

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Posted on: January 3, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Texans keeping Kubiak, replacing defensive staff

Posted by Andy Benoit

To the chagrin of many Houston fans, owner Bob McNair has announced that head coach Gary Kubiak will return for a sixth season. The Texans just turned in a disappointing 7-9 season in which it set new lows for defensive ineptitude (267.5 passing yards allowed per game, 32nd in the NFL).

"I appreciate Bob's confidence in me," Kubiak said in a statement released by the team. "We visited today and decided on a new direction. I am very lucky. I work for a great man that believes in me. That means a lot to me. I have a lot of work to do to make him proud."

RELATED: COACHING HOT SEAT TRACKER

One could make the argument that Kubiak is not deserving of the blame, though. Mike Shanahan’s long-time assistant in Denver was hired for his offensive pedigree. The Texans have ranked in the top four in offensive yardage each of the last three seasons. The problems have been on defense.

Consequently, Kubiak fired defensive coordinator Frank Bush, defensive backs coach David Gibbs, linebackers coach Johnny Holland and assistant linebackers coach Robert Saleh Monday. He is looking to bring in a defensive czar to right the ship, and he says it doesn’t matter if that individual has a 4-3 or 3-4 background, but has said that Wade Phillips -- previously rumored as a DC candidate -- will be interviewed.

A 4-3 background does matter, though. GM Rick Smith has invested very high draft picks in a slew of 4-3 front seven players (Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing). The 4-3 system has not panned out the last several years, but that’s been a player performance issue more than anything. This season, besides Ryans’ Achilles injury and Williams’ nagging hernia, the Texans were done-in by callow cornerbacks and safeties who are hard-hitting but inept in coverage.

Kubiak is not responsible for the defensive personnel, and he’s not responsible for players having basic fundamentals. That issue pertains more to the assistant coaches. Hence, McNair felt sweeping changes on that side of the staff would suffice for 2011.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com