Oklahoma recently sent seven Sooners to the NFL Scouting Combine to participate in the most extensive interviews of their lives. They hope to hear their names called at the end of April in the 2023 NFL draft.
While their careers are just getting started, Oklahoma’s representation in the NFL is rich. Several Sooners have established solid reputations but had interesting decisions to make early in the NFL free agency cycle.
We’ve taken the liberty and rounded up all the news about the current Oklahoma Sooners and their situations with regard to free agency and new deals this offseason so far.
Orlando Brown goes from one Super Bowl contender to another
Oct 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown (57) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
One of the biggest men to come through Norman recently, former Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown, has found himself a new home. He’s fresh off a season where he helped protect the blind side of the NFL’s best quarterback Patrick Mahomes, en route to a Super Bowl title.
Hitting free agency, Brown had to secure his future after playing 2022 on the one-year franchise tag.
He and the Chiefs were in negotiations but reached a stalemate. Kansas City decided to move on. They signed Jawan Taylor, opening the door for Brown to seek a new employer.
Brown’s saga was relatively short-lived as he signed with Cincinnati to protect the blind side of Joe Burrow. Burrow is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, but the Bengals have struggled with pass protection the last couple of seasons. His deal amounts to four years for $64 million. Brown’s 2023 roster bonus is $31.1 million and is due Sunday.
Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon get separated
Bengals running back Samaje Perine tries to slip a tackle by Bills linebacker Matt Milano. JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK
Free agency is unforgiving, and it sometimes sees long-time friends and teammates separated.
[autotag]Samaje Perine[/autotag] and [autotag]Joe Mixon[/autotag] will no longer share the same backfield. Perine and Mixon provided the Bengals with their own unique styles, but their brotherhood and tough running were welcomed wherever they lined up.
Perine left the Bengals for the Denver Broncos on a two-year deal worth $7.5 million.
He’ll join a running back rotation that includes former North Carolina Tar Heel Jovantae Williams. Perine projects to the Mark Ingram role from new head coach Sean Payton’s time in New Orleans.
Is Joe Mixon done in Cincinnati?
Nov 7, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
As the Bengals work to free up cap space, there’s a chance they could move on from running back Joe Mixon as well.
The Bengals have more pressing issues and can save about $10 million if it designates Mixon as a post-June 1 cut. Mixon, 26, is in the final year of his deal.
Obo heads to Cleveland to join the other Sooners
Sep 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the ball as Houston Texans defensive end Obo Okoronkwo (45) pressures in the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
Former OU EDGE Obo Okoronkwo is headed north to Cleveland as he cashes in after betting on himself by returning home to play for the Houston Texans.
He had 268 pass rush snaps last year and earned an 81.9 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus. He was credited with five sacks, six QB hits, 25 hurries, and 36 pressures.
Obo’s pass-rush ability earned the former Sooners a three-year deal worth $19 million with incentives that could push the total value of the contract to $22 million. Okoronkwo’s deal has $12.5 million guaranteed.
He joins fellow Sooners Perrion Winfrey, Isaiah Thomas, and Michael Woods with the Browns.
Ben Powers heading to Denver
(AP Photo/Terrence Williams
Another NFL team with a heavy dose of Crimson and Cream flair, the Denver Broncos signed another Sooner this week in addition to signing Samaje Perine.
If Perine is to succeed along with the rest of the Broncos’ offense, they need to improve their offensive line. Sean Payton is an offensive guru, and he knows the value of strong play up front. It certainly explains why they invested four years and $52 million in Ben Powers. Powers spent the last few years blocking for superstar QB and former MVP Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens.
Powers will receive $27 million guaranteed at signing. He ranked second in PFF‘s pass-blocking metrics among guards. He’ll immediately stabilize a Broncos offensive line that struggled in pass protection last year.
Sterling Shepard remains in NY
Sep 26, 2021; E. Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) carries the ball as Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun (54) defends in the first half at MetLife Stadium. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
After a devastating couple of years of dealing with injuries, Sterling Shepard will stay in New York. He signed a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. He joined the Giants as a 2016 second-round selection and has been part of the Giants’ wide receiver corps for seven seasons.
Shepard has played in ten games over the past two seasons. The Giants invested big bucks in QB Daniel Jones and desperately needed to surround him with weapons.
Shepard is a leader and well-respected in that locker room. He’ll be able to lead that group and showcase that he can still be a playmaker.
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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire