Tracking Former Ohio State Buckeyes in NFL Free Agency

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 14: Derrick Malone (37) of the Ohio State Buckeyes greets fans before the Ohio State Life Sports Spring Game presented by Nationwide at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on April 14th, 2018. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Free agency in the NFL began on Wednesday, even though legal tampering could begin as soon as Monday. Of the many former Ohio State Buckeyes in NFL free agency, four have received contracts.

Ohio State is known for pumping players into the NFL draft. In last years’ draft, Ohio State had nine players picked, behind only Alabama for most in the country.

But free agency is where we find out how the drafted players fared. The second contract players earn is the one that gives them the most money and their best terms. Free agency tells everyone how well Ohio State actually develops players.

Coincidentally, all of the Ohio State players with new contracts are all defensive backs. But after only one week of free agency, former Buckeyes are making a lot of money this offseason.

Tracking Former Ohio State Buckeyes in NFL Free Agency

Free agents still available:

Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith, Ted Ginn Jr., Nick Vannett, Michael Bennett, Darron Lee, Vonn Bell, and Kurt Coleman

Malcolm Jenkins

The New Orleans Saints apparently have some sort of obligation to add Ohio State defensive backs. Malcolm Jenkins just agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal that will bring him back to New Orleans.

The Saints drafted him with the 14th overall pick in 2009. They let him walk in 2013, which head coach Sean Payton says “certainly wasn’t a smart decision.” The Philadelphia Eagles released the day before free agency began, so the Saints quickly picked him back up.

Though Jenkins played cornerback at Ohio State, he transitioned to safety when he played in the NFL. The Saints brought him in to replace another former Buckeye, Vonn Bell, who is currently still a free agent. Jenkins will also get the chance to play with former Buckeye turned Pro Bowler Marshon Lattimore.

Eli Apple

After being let go by the Saints, Eli Apple will get a chance as an inaugural member of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Apple, who played cornerback at Ohio State from 2014-2015, was drafted by the New York Giants. The Saints traded for him in 2018, but let him walk this offseason. The Raiders signed him, though the details of that contract are not yet public.

Bradley Roby

The Houston Texans gave Bradley Roby a one-year “prove it” deal in 2019. He played well enough that they gave him a new 3-year, $36 million contract.

Drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2014, Roby was highly underrated on a team with two other elite cornerbacks. Roby helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50, but they chose not to bring him back in 2019. The Texans signed him to a one-year contract and then traded for former Buckeye Gareon Conley.

Now Roby will remain in Houston until at least 2022 when he will be 30 years old.

Nate Ebner

Joe Judge left the New England Patriots as the special teams coordinator to become the Giants’ head coach. He wanted to bring with him someone to help on special teams, so he signed former Patriots and Buckeyes safety Nate Ebner.

The Patriots drafted Ebner in 2012 but never started a single game on defense. Instead, he has been a special teams wizard. The 31-year-old has 98 tackles in 127 games on special teams.

Since Judge’s background is in special teams, it’s safe to assume that Ebner will play the same role for the Giants.

Main Photo Credit:

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 14: Derrick Malone (37) of the Ohio State Buckeyes greets fans before the Ohio State Life Sports Spring Game presented by Nationwide at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on April 14th, 2018. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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