In the fallout of Browns GM John Dorsey acquiring the services of pass-rushing guru Olivier Vernon from the Giants, incumbent DE Emmauuel Ogbah has reportedly been on the trading block, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported two weeks ago:
Browns are now shopping former defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah after acquiring Olivier Vernon, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
Since then, there have may light rumors, but no real known movement on Ogbah being moved. He may become the odd man out on the Browns’ defensive front, especially since Cleveland signed DT Sheldon Richardson on the first day of free agency. The lineup now would be Myles Garrett and Vernon on the corners, with Larry Ogunjobi and Richardson on the inside.
Currently, the backups are Trevon Coley, Brian Price, Lawrence Devaroe, Carl Davis and Daniel Ekuale at the DT position, with Chris Smith, Chad Thomas, Lenny Jones, Anthony Zettel and Ogbah at defensive end.
Smith was signed to a three-year contract last year worth $14 million as a four-year veteran. He played in all 16 games with the Browns last year with 21 tackles. Thomas was taken in the third-round of the 2018 draft and appeared in only four games mainly on special teams. Jones did not play last season after being placed on IR in August. Zettel was a waiver claim early in 2018 and appeared in 15 games with 14 tackles.
Ogbah was taken with the very first pick in the second-round by the Browns in 2016 after a stellar career at Oklahoma State in which he had 133 total tackles, 26 ½ sacks plus five forced fumbles; and was named Big-12 Defensive Lineman-of-the-Year. Essentially, he was a late first-rounder but paid as second-round talent.
As a rookie with Cleveland, he had 53 tackles, 5 ½ sacks with three passes defended. In the two seasons since then he has had only 69 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and 14 PDs.
With the emergence of Smith and Thomas as depth, Ogbah may be the one which holds the most trade value for the Browns. Plus, apparently after three seasons he has not reached the plateau that the franchise thought he should be at by now. The club lost their first-round pick and their second third-round selection (obtained from Patriots) in the Odell Beckham, Jr. trade and perhaps Dorsey is trying to get a draft pick (or two) back.
Teams that reportedly inquired about Ogbah included the Panthers, Chiefs and Cowboys. The cap number Ogbah has is just over $2 million. This year’s draft is a pass-rusher friendly class which could devalue Ogbah, but what may help is the fact that all three clubs who had expressed interest are selecting at the bottom of each round and the exceptionally-talented rookie pass rushers will be already gone. Could it be a situation where the Ogbah story plays out during the 2019 NFL Draft?
The Browns defensive front is going to be very scary in 2019 regardless, but if Dorsey decides to keep Ogbah as depth talent, this unit will always be refreshed and ready. What do you think Cleveland should do?