A New York Jets free agent target goes off the board
Larry Ogunjobi, the ex-Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, has signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Former Bengals’ DT Larry Ogunjobi has signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, per source.
Ogunjobi now will have played for the Browns, Bengals and Steelers, leaving the Ravens as the lone Ogunjobi-less AFC North team.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 21, 2022
The dollar amount of the contract is yet to be released. One would assume that it was more than what Joe Douglas offered him. Ogunjobi met with the New York Jets early in May, and it was reported that the Jets were very interested in him. However, later in the month, it was further reported that Douglas had offered him a “take it or leave it” contract.
While the Jets are in need of interior defensive line help, that is primarily for run-stopping purposes, which is not Ogunjobi’s strength. Ogunjobi posted a woeful Pro Football Focus run-defense grade of 38.9 against the run last season, and he has trended downward against the run in each successive season he’s been in the league.
The Jets have a pair of above-average and potentially elite interior pass-rushers in Quinnen Williams and John Franklin-Myers. Sheldon Rankins and Solomon Thomas both bring value as rushers from the inside of the line. What the Jets do not have is that big run-stopper in the middle.
Interestingly, Pittsburgh is signing Ogunjobi at least partially for his value as a run defender. The Steelers were one of the worst teams in the league against the run last season, allowing a league-high 24 rushes of 20+ yards (the Jets were tied for second-worst, allowing 16 such runs). There is an assumption that with better coaching, Ogunjobi will be able to return to his stronger run-stopping days from earlier in his career.
As a pass rusher, Ogunjobi will certainly bring value to Pittsburgh. He had seven sacks, seven QB hits, and 25 hurries for the Bengals last season.
Another thing to note is that Ogunjobi already failed a physical this offseason, which negated the three-year deal he had agreed to with the Bears. He needed surgery after sustaining a foot injury in the Bengals’ AFC Wild Card game victory against the Raiders.
One rumored Jets depth target has signed elsewhere. The team remains interested in Kwon Alexander at linebacker and also brought in Riley Reiff for a visit to potentially bolster their swing tackle position. Joe Douglas is not finished building and refining this 2022 New York Jets roster.