Giants to give LB Bobby Okereke a four-year, $40 million deal. Grade: B+
There’s absolutely no question that the 2022 New York Giants needed more from their linebacker group than they got. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale did the best he could with a group led by reclamation projects Jarrad Davis and Jaylon Smith, but more was going to have to be done to get things on the level Martindale would prefer.
Bug blue took a nice step in that direction with the news that the Giants will sign former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke to a four-year, $40 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. Last season, Okereke had 112 tackles, 53 stops, and he allowed 73 catches on 93 targets for 651 yards, 500 yards after the catch, two touchdowns, no interceptions, four pass breakups, and an opponent passer rating of 103.0. With Okereke, you have to look beyond the pedestrian coverage metrics to see what he was doing on the field… which was pretty decent.
Anytime you have a linebacker who can successfully defend Justin Jefferson, that's pretty good. Nice get by the Giants with ex-Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke. pic.twitter.com/Y3JtI5mfIc
— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) March 13, 2023
Okereke didn’t blitz a lot in Gus Bradley’s zone-heavy defense, but as Martindale is the blitziest defensive coordinator in the NFL, you can expect that to change to a point — and when you’re blitzing as much as the Giants so, you also need guys who can cover behind all that chaos.