4 first-year Commanders players who could be gone in 2023

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Efe Obada
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Efe Obada /
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Washington Commanders
(Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports) Efe Obada /

Efe Obada – Commanders DL

When the Washington Commanders signed Efe Obada to a short-term deal in free agency, it reunited the defensive lineman with the head coach that gave him his first NFL opportunity. One that the Nigerian-born player grasped with both hands en route to a productive career so far.

Obada came of age with the Carolina Panthers under Ron Rivera, emerging from an afterthought into a core rotational piece that notched 5.5 sacks in 2020 before moving to the Buffalo Bills. He was a solid option for Sean McDermott’s depth chart during his one year up north, but it wasn’t enough to earn an extended stay and the Commanders got themselves a cheap option capable of making a difference.

There was a lot to like about the enthusiasm Obada brought to a defensive front that’s loaded with first-round talent. His power at the point of attack was matched by eye-catching explosiveness and versatility to play on the edge or as a three-technique on the interior when opportunities arose.

This saw Obada secure four sacks, eight quarterback hits, and 10 pressures from 37 percent of Washington’s defensive snaps in 2022. That could be enough for a new deal – albeit a short-term one – but the Commanders might also seek alternative options in free agency or the NFL Draft.

Obada’s previous relationship with Rivera has developed a sense of trust that cannot be ignored. But the NFL is rarely that simple when push comes to shove.