Ready Oher Not?: Michael Oher in Free Agency

Well, I can’t say we were “blindsided” by this.

After several years of increasing ineffectiveness, Mr. Blindside himself, Michael Oher, is without a team.

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Oher ever since I saw him get drafted in person at the 2009 NFL Draft in New York.  I’m sure that everyone has seen him get drafted at the end “The Blindside” movie, but it was fairly touching to see it in person along with his extended adopted family.  And having read the book, it really did seem like a great “poor kid makes good on potential from the kindness of others” story.  But alas, it didn’t end up that way for Oher once he got to the NFL.


USA Today Photo

According to the Bleacher Report (citing Pro Football Focus), Oher started out well in his rookie year, but then slipped to subpar levels over the next four seasons.

Michael Oher Pro Football Focus Grades and Advanced Stats
Year OVR vs. Pass vs. Run Sacks Hits Hurries
2009 20.4 (15) 8.4 (24) 12.1 (9) 5 6 20
2010 -0.9 (40) -0.6 (40) 4.1 (23) 5 10 24
2011 2.2 (48) 6.2 (29) -2.1 (47) 7 6 33
2012 -5.9 (57) -0.8 (52) -6.0 (70) 10 9 26
2013 -12.6 (68) -0.2 (48) -17.0 (76) 8 7 42

Just looking at the stats is a telling exercise.  Oher was responsible for allowing at least 5 sacks every year, and close to double that in 2012 and 2013.  And although he was responsible for a reasonable 20 hurries in his rookie year, he was responsible for over twice that in 2013.  Apparently, also according to the Bleacher Report, that graded Oher out in the bottom 10 in both 2012 and 2013.

So when Tennessee picked up Oher in 2014 for 4 years for $20 million, over $9 million of which was guaranteed, pundits were understandably skeptical.  And right they were, Oher did not show improvement and in fact got worse.  To add insult to injury, after 11 mostly ineffective starts, Oher incurred a toe injury during warmups before a game and eventually ended up on injured reserve.  And that, my friends, is what the Titans got for $6 million, an offensive tackle that was downright offensive grading out by Pro Football Focus as the 4th worst tackle in 2014.

Getty Images

Getty Images

No guaranteed money was coming in 2015, but there was over $3 million dollars guaranteed if Oher remained on the roster past this Friday.  So the Titans made the right move and released him.

Chances are there’s still some potential left for Oher, who turns 29 in May.  There are plenty of teams that have need for an offensive tackle, including The Oakland Raiders, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins.  Honestly, it’s difficult to see a team offer significant money for the likes of Oher at this point, but for a team that has a number of additional pressing needs that it must deal with in the draft, like the Raiders, taking a chance on Oher might be worth the risk.  We all know that he has significant ability, its just a question of whether he can round back into form and become at least an average OT in the NFL.

But time is definitely running out for the Blindside star.

Well, ready Oher not, free agency, here he comes!

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime


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