Why the Chicago Bears didn’t overpay for Larry Ogunjobi

Chicago Bears (Imagn Images)
Chicago Bears (Imagn Images) /

As free agency kicked off Monday, the Chicago Bears went a different direction with their first notable signing.

Instead of going after a bigger name at wide receiver or offensive line, general manager Ryan Poles switched it up on us and agreed to terms with former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi.

Ogunjobi will come in and play the extremely important 3-technique in Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 defense. For those who need more context, think of Ogunjobi being the Tommie Harris of this defense.

The Bears’ deal with Ogunjobi is a 3-year contract worth $40.5 million which, on the surface, looks like a lot of money. However, looking a little deeper at this deal, one can see that it isn’t all that bad.

The Chicago Bears did not overpay for free agent Larry Ogunjobi, and instead, may have received a value.

Let’s take a quick look at two defensive linemen the Bears will be losing this offseason who may have stepped in to play this 3-technique for Eberflus had they stuck around.

Akiem Hicks is is 32 years old and missed eight games due to injury last season. His most recent cap number was $12 million. Then, there’s Bilal Nichols, whose cap number last year was $2.25 million and he isn’t exactly cut out to play this particular position — neither of these guys are, actually.

Combine those contracts and you get $14.25 against the cap in 2021. Ogunjobi, on the other hand, is just 27 years old and coming off a career year. He is in the midst of his prime and should be at his very best over the next three seasons.

Ogunjobi’s contract pays him an average of $13.5 million per season — and that’s not even his concrete cap number. We’ll have to wait for the details to come later on, but his cap number could be even lower due to bonus configuration.

The Bears got the perfect player to play this position and are paying less than they would have been paying Hicks and Nichols. To snag a defensive tackle entering his prime, for less money than two guys who weren’t cut out for this position, is a huge win for Poles.

They also signed a player who will be healthy and available. Ogunjobi has only missed one game in each of the past three seasons.

To get down to specifics as to Ogunjobi’s performance, check out our friends at BearGogglesOn in the above tweet. The numbers speak for themselves.

Ogunjobi is phenomenal in both the run and pass game. He’s quick enough to get into the back field in a hurry, but also strong enough to hold down the run game. Last season, Ogunjobi tallied 7.0 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. He also came up with 16 quarterback hits and nine quarterback hurries.

At first glance, the Ogunjobi contract seems large. After all, he’s currently the 9th highest-paid defensive tackle in football. So, it is a bigger contract. But, it’s completely justifiable and makes perfect sense as to why Poles made it happen.

Related Story. Bears’ signing of Larry Ogunjobi goes against the grain. light

The Bears got an integral part to this new defensive scheme, who is an ascending player, all while replacing two players who couldn’t get the job done in this particular position. An overpay? Absolutely not.