After signing a one-year deal with New Orleans last offseason, Okafor put together an excellent 2017 campaign in which he amassed a career-high 43 tackles to go along with 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 10 games before tearing an Achilles. The 2013 fourth-rounder subsequently decided to test his worth on the open market and had a confirmed visit to Tampa Bay this offseason, but it's now apparent he'll stay with the Saints for the time being. If he can secure the starting left defensive end role opposite in advance of the regular season -- while avoiding any hiccups in his rehab -- Okafor should be firmly on the IDP radar while playing opposite 2017 first-team All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan. According to Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Okafor is on track to be ready for Week 1.
Okafor (torn Achilles) could miss the beginning of training camp, Sean Fazende of Fox8live.com reports.
There is little to no indication that the rehabilitation process will linger into the regular season so that is less of a concern at the moment. Okafor was on pace to reel in a sizable contract this offseason prior to tearing his Achilles in Week 11, but the Saints appear have some reservations following the injury. Regardless of where he ends up, Okafor's status is likely to remain in question as training camp inches closer.
Okafor was diagnosed with a torn Achilles after being evaluated Monday and will miss the rest of the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
As the Saints had feared when Okafor was carted off the field in Sunday's 38-31 win over the Redskins, the starting defensive end sustained a significant injury and will likely be headed to injured reserve. Okafor, who signed a one-year, $2 million contract in March, has been an unsung hero of the Saints' defensive turnaround this season, recording 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 10 games. With surgery awaiting him and potentially keeping him sidelined to begin the 2018 campaign, Okafor may have a cool market as he heads into free agency this winter. The Saints, meanwhile, are expected to rely on a rotation of Hau'oli Kikaha and Trey Hendrickson to fill the defensive end spot opposite top pass rusher Cameron Jordan.
Okafor hurt his leg Sunday against the Redskins and left the field on a cart, Herbie Teope of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
The severity of this injury is unclear, and if he doesn't return Sunday, more information will be released Wednesday at the latest. Okafor has been an instrumental on the Saints' defensive front, with 37 tackles (26 solo) and 4.5 sacks through nine games. Rookie Trey Hendrickson will slot in at defensive end until Okafor is healthy again.
Okafor recorded a sack in Sunday's win over the Bills to bring his season total up to 4.5.
On the day, Okafor recorded four tackles (three solo) to go along with the sack. The 26-year-old was heavily involved throughout the day, as he saw 41 snaps (85.0 percent), which was the second highest total on the team.
|2017||New Orleans Saints||10||43||27.0||16||4.5||0||0||0.0||0||0||4|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2017||New Orleans Saints||10||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|