Let’s start here: The best fit for Emmanuel Ogbah in free agency is remaining with the Miami Dolphins. But Ogbah’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said recently that his client would likely test the waters of free agency. Here’s why the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and Atlanta Falcons make the most sense should Ogbah decide to leave.
Emmanuel Ogbah: Free agency overview
Ogbah is a perfect fit in Josh Boyer’s defense. Miami’s soon-to-be free agent DE had the best two seasons of his career with Boyer as his defensive coordinator. He had 9 sacks in both 2020 and 2021 and totaled 75 pressures, 45 hits, and 29 hurries during his time in Boyer’s hybrid scheme.
He’s an edge defender who does his best work getting upfield. That’s why the Dolphins very rarely asked him to cover in space. In 1,548 defensive snaps the last two years, he was targeted just 3 times — showing how little he dropped. And yet, he still had a significant impact in the passing game, knocking down 12 passes — the most in football among front seven defenders.
The Dolphins seem poised to let Ogbah reach the open market, where Spotrac expects him to fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $30.5 million over three years. We’ve talked at length about who can afford Ogbah and the rest of the top free agents. An equally important question: Where would he best fit among the many teams in need of a pass rusher?
Ogbah’s best landing spots
Ogbah needs to find schemes and situations more like the Miami Dolphins’ and less like the ones he encountered with the Browns (12.5 sacks in three seasons) and Chiefs (5.5 sacks in one). Here are three.
Boyer learned much of what he knows about defensive philosophy as a grad assistant at Kent State under Dean Pees, who gave him one of his first jobs in coaching two decades ago. Pees later brought Boyer with him to the NFL in the mid-2000s, with both serving on Bill Belichick’s coaching staff.
After stints with the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, Pees has spent the last two years as defensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, who had the NFL’s worst sack rate (3.1%) and its third-worst pass-rush win rate (34%) in 2021.
New York Giants
The New York Giants are another team with a respected, veteran defensive coordinator that loves to get after the quarterback in a variety of ways. Wink Martindale joined the Giants coaching staff this offseason after spending the previous 10 with the Ravens, including the last four as DC.
The exotic fronts that served Ogbah so well in Miami could do the same in New York. The Giants only have one defensive end scheduled to make more than $1 million in 2021: Leonard Williams.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are on this list because of one name and one name only: Brian Flores. The ex-Dolphins coach is now on Mike Tomlin’s staff, and Flores knows as well as anyone what Ogbah can do with the right support.
The Steelers defense needs a major talent infusion. Ogbah might be the guy they want — and with $29.6 million in cap space, afford.