Smart teams will use the next couple of months to lock down players they want to keep ahead of free agency, getting a jump on the process.
Despite not having a coach, the Carolina Panthers identified one such player they'd like to keep around.
The team announced defensive end Efe Obada signed a one-year contract extension Monday. He was set to be an exclusive rights free agent.
The London native played his second NFL season, participating in all 16 games, compiling 24 tackles, including two for loss, and one pass defended.
The 27-year-old British athlete came to the NFL as part of the International Pathway Program, joining the Panthers' practice squad in 2017.
"It's still an uphill battle," Obada told the team's official website after inking his new contract. "I don't think I've established myself, and with all the changes in the organization, there are going to be fresh eyes in the coaching department with a new system and new philosophies. It's going to be like a rookie year for me, kind of a 'prove it' year. At the same time, it's also an opportunity. It's about my work ethic and just improving."
In his first game in 2018, Obada blasted out of the gate with a sack and an interception to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. It's been a rollercoaster since then for the edge rusher who's still growing in the game.
"Individually there was some frustration," Obada said. "I felt I improved as a player and the game is definitely slowing down to me. My instincts are getting better. But it was a sack-less season and there was frustration in that. Just have to keep working at it. It's just testament to the guys who consistently go out there and get sacks. It's a very hard thing to do, that's why it's a well-paid role. You get heavily rewarded for that."