New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen set an aggressive tone for his first free agency with the salary cap in order after saying "we're not shopping for minimum players anyone" Friday in reference to his first free agency run in 2022 atoning for his predecessor Dave Gettleman's cap usage. Now, he has made his first big swing on the open market following quarterback Daniel Jones' four-year, $160 million extension and using the franchise tag on Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley by signing former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke to a four-year, $40 million deal with $22 million guaranteed, according to NFL Media.
The 26-year-old, a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has taken a significant leap forward across the last two seasons, amassing 283 tackles since the start of the 2021 season when he became a full-time starter in Indianapolis, the ninth-most in the entire NFL during that time. Okereke only had 137 tackles combined his first two seasons in the league while starting 16 games during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. His presence in the middle gives the Giants a significant speed upgrade at the position after Jaylon Smith manned an inside linebacker spot for the G-Men last season. The linebacker may have caught Schoen's eye when he totaled a career-high 17 tackles in the Colts' 38-10 loss at the Giants in Week 17 this past season.
However, Okereke may want to keep his distance from Jones at the start of training camp given the unnecessary roughness penalty he received for elbowing the quarterback in the head as he was sliding down to end a play in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach at 31-10.
Unnecessary roughness penalty by Bobby Okereke on Daniel Jones#Colts 10 #Giants 31 4ᴛʜ pic.twitter.com/3vGH63kn8M— Sᴘᴏʀᴛs 24/7 (@Sports_24x7_) January 1, 2023