October 23, 2011; London, ENGLAND; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman tries to escape Chicago Bears defensive end Amobi Okoye (91) during the third quarter in the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Bucs Sign Amobi Okoye

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms on a one year deal with free agent defensive lineman Amobi Okoye per ESPN. Okoye, 24, spent last season in Chicago after starting his career with the Houston Texans. In his time in the NFL Okoye has played at both end and tackle, though he was featured more inside for the Bears last season.

I personally love this signing, Josh mentioned the possibility on The Pewter Plank podcast a few weeks ago and really sold me on the upside of the former Louisville standout. This is a low-risk, high-reward contract. Okoye entered the NFL at 19 years old after starting at UL at just 16. He’s never really come into his own and lived up the massive potential that came attached to him when he was picked in the first round, but at the same time he’s also got the ability to turn it around given that his best football is undoubtedly in front of him.

At just 24 (25 in June), Okoye has had the chance to cut his teeth on NFL talent, but he’s not yet into the prime of his athletic career, that may still be coming. If Greg Schiano and his staff can get Okoye on track he can be one of the better talents on that line. He has all the tools and even despite not quite hitting his stride, he has still been a serviceable lineman thus far in his career.

The downside is that if Okoye has a good year (and I’m being truthful when I say I think he could surprise a lot of people in Tampa), his deal will set him up for a big pay-day next year as a 25 year-old free agent. But that’s a chance the Bucs can afford to take right now, the risk is low, the reward is high and hopefully Okoye has a bright future ahead of him in Pewter.

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