Back in June, Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard held out of mandatory minicamps, starting a whirlwind of speculation and rumors. However, Xavien the Great wasn’t the only defensive playmaker looking for a reworked contract this offseason.
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (who signed a 2-year deal worth $15 million with the team in 2020) was hoping to cash in after a season where he totaled 42 tackles and brought down the quarterback a career-high nine times—three of those resulting in game-changing fumbles. But don’t take my word for it.
Here’s a look at Emmanuel Ogbah’s career-high nine sacks from the 2020 NFL season
Ogbah, 27, flourished last season under head coach Brian Flores and his defensive coaching staff. But with no guarantees past the 2021 NFL season (sound familiar), some were uncertain whether Ogbah would follow in Xavien Howard’s footsteps, sitting out the team’s mandatory minicamp.
Ogbah was present at minicamp, (wearing a red non-contact jersey) but his top priority remains to get an extension from the Dolphins before becoming a free agent next offseason. Here’s what Drew Rosenhaus, Emmanuel Ogbah’s agent, told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald a few weeks ago.
“We would like to get an extension done, We’ve approached the Dolphins about that. That’s as much as I can say.”
Rosenhaus’s quote brought up an essential question.
Should the Miami Dolphins extend Emmanuel Ogbah?
This really is hard to say given Miami’s current cap situation. Spotrac still has the Dolphins in grave cap danger (Less than $5M in cap space), with several rookies still to be signed.
The kicker in all of this is that it is only July, and there will be players cut/traded before the start of the season. Miami is also projected to have a boatload of cap space in 2022. So let’s forget I even mentioned the salary cap and all of its made-up glory.
Maybe we should be asking ourselves is;
Is Emmanuel Ogbah the difference-maker Miami’s defense can’t live without?
If you didn’t watch the video I posted above showcasing his nine sacks and ability to completely shift the game’s dynamic with one swift hit of the quarterback. Maybe you’ll believe our good friends over at Pro Football Network.
As Pro Football Network mentioned, Ogbah finished with 59 total pressures in 2020—the most among all defensive ends, according to Sports Info Solutions. His 59 pressures were second to only Los Angeles defensive tackle Aaron Donald. That is quite the feat for any defensive lineman.
Obviously, Ogbah isn’t Aaron Donald. No one is. They also play two different positions. But while most of the talk throughout this article has been around what he can do as a pass-rusher, let’s not overlook his presence in the run game.
Ogbah’s first step is explosive. But most impressive, IMO, is how he uses his speed and power in unison. He can use his long arms to steer and manipulate linemen in the run game. Then, one play later, he might time the snap perfectly, swat the offensive tackle’s hands away, and get to the quarterback before he ever has a chance.
It didn’t take long for Ogbah to get acclimated to his new team in South Florida, making his presence known immediately. The 27-year-old defensive end had an eight-game stretch that was about as impressive as they come. Although he did fizzle out (I use this word with all the respect in the world) towards the end of the year—-something Miami may point to in contract negotiations.
Chris Grier has also done a nice job of readying things for the future. In case situations like this present themselves. It also can’t be overlooked how impressive Flores and his coaching staff are at disguising pressure.
Ogbah was great in 2020, but how much of it was because of the scheme and the coaches putting the players in the right situation?
Do the Dolphins feel like Emmanuel Ogbah is dispensable? Probably. Over the last several years, they’ve shown that fans shouldn’t get comfortable with the name on the back of the jersey.
But if you’re trying to decide whether or not the Dolphins have a player on the roster that can do the same type of things Emmanuel Ogbah can do (at the highest level) coming off the EDGE, in addition to what he brings to the run game; I’d have to say the answer, as of today, is ‘no.’
Ogbah might be the best traditional defensive end on the roster. And with his ever-changing versatility and Miami’s newly added defensive weapons, Ogbah could be in store for an even bigger season.
In the end, Drew Rosenhaus and his agent have a reason to seek a new contract. After all, Ogbah was fantastic in 2020 and has no team (as of now) beyond the 2021 season. However, I also see where Chris Grier and the Miami Dolphins are coming from. It now up to the two sides to reach an agreement that benefits both the player and the team.
No one knows if Emmanuel Ogbah will be with the Miami Dolphins beyond the 2021 season. But if they hope to continue to build on their success in 2020 by making things extremely difficult on opposing offensive coordinators, Ogbah’s future in Miami is only getting started.
What are your thoughts on Miami Dolphins’ defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah? Should Miami cave to his demands now or continue to play hardball? If Ogbah walks after this season, who do you think steps up in his absence? Let us know in the comments section below!