After a rocky first two NFL seasons, Jeff Okudah took a step forward with his play this fall. Now, the Detroit Lions must decide if that’s enough to warrant committing to Okudah for 2024.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes said Tuesday no decision has been made yet on whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Okudah’s rookie contract.
Okudah has one year left on the four-year deal he signed as the No. 3 pick of the 2020 draft, when he became the highest-drafted cornerback in 23 years.
Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (1) warms up before action against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 at Ford Field.
The Lions have until early May to exercise an option that is worth a projected $11.3 million guaranteed.
“I know the fifth-year option and all that stuff is coming up,” Holmes said in his annual end-of-season news conference. “We’ll address that at the appropriate time, but I’m proud of what Jeff did and I know he’ll hold himself accountable for his play of the good things and the things that he needs to work on.”
Okudah, who turns 24 in February, started all 15 of the games he played for the Lions this season, with mixed results.
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He had his first career interception return for a touchdown to spark the Lions’ Week 10 win over the Chicago Bears and he held opposing quarterbacks to a 59.7% completion rate on passes thrown his direction, according to Pro Football Reference.
But Okudah struggled in coverage in late-season games against the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers, was benched for most of the second half of the Lions’ Week 16 loss in Carolina and split playing time with Mike Hughes in a Week 17 win over the Chicago Bears.
Okudah missed the Lions’ season finale against the Green Bay Packers with an elbow injury he suffered in practice, but traveled to the game. He missed one game in November with a brain injury.
“I told you guys after camp that I give him so much…