There was a time where the expectation was that Larry Ogunjobi was signing on to play in the middle of a defense opposite of a first-round quarterback once chosen by the Bears.
But we were thinking that it was going to be Justin Fields, and not Mitchell Trubisky.
More than three months after Ogunjobi’s deal with the Bears fell apart due to a failed physical, the former Browns and Bengals defensive tackle is signing with the Steelers. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has details:
I guess we can close the door on an Ogunjobi-Bears re-up, even though GM Ryan Poles wasn’t ready to rule that out as recently as late March.
In early March, the Bears and Ogunjobi were lining up a three-year deal worth up to $40.5 million. It was even set to include $26.35 million in guarantees. So, to see him sign a one-year deal in the latter stages of June suggests Chicago’s beef with whatever red flag came up on the physical was legit. I’ll be interested to see how much that issue cost him in free agency bucks. Kind of a bummer if you think about it.
Ogunjobi, 27, would have been the 3-technique defensive tackle anchoring Matt Eberflus’ defense. His signing was a big deal and would have been the first big splash of the Ryan Poles era. Instead, the Bears backed out of the deal because of the failed physical and pivoted to sign Justin Jones (for a fraction of the cost of what would’ve been Ogunjobi’s payday). Perhaps more important than that is how the Ogunjobi fallout might’ve led to the Bears missing out on a number of different targets while dealing with the mess. Whoopsiedoodle.
Part of me feels bad for all parties on some level. Ogunjobi missed out on his first opportunity to secure life-changing money on a multi-year deal. Poles whiffed on his first attempt at a big free agent swing (and it likely impacted other pursuits elsewhere). And a Bears defense that needs an anchor in the middle for it to be fully operational doesn’t quite have that type of player on its roster. In the end, Ogunjobi’s signing with the Steelers closes the door on an odd chapter in what has been an adventurous offseason for the Bears.