CHARLOTTE – Defensive end Efe Obada has signed a one-year contract through the 2019 season.
Obada, who joined the Panthers as a part of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program in 2017, would have become a free agent in March if the Panthers hadn't tendered the potential exclusive rights free agent. Now Obada will have an opportunity to earn a role for Carolina's game this fall against the Buccaneers in London – the city that Obada has called home since he was a kid.
"I'm very grateful. It's another opportunity to contribute to the team and obviously support myself and my family," said Obada, who plans to spend most of his offseason in England.
Obada spent the 2017 season as a practice squad exemption for the Panthers, and many thought that would be the end of the line for him. But Obada had different plans, and he beat the odds to earn a spot on Carolina's 53-man roster in 2018.
He appeared in 10 games, recording eight tackles according to coaches' film review and two sacks. His NFL debut was the stuff of fairy tales. In Week 3 against the Bengals, Obada came up with a sliding interception and a sack. He also had a strip-sack taken away by replay review.
Obada was active for the next six games as well, but down the stretch the Panthers opted at times to give opportunities to fellow defensive ends Bryan Cox Jr. and Marquis Haynes. Obada was active for three of Carolina's final six games, recording his second career sack in his first game back and three total tackles down the stretch.
"The main thing for me is being consistent and trusting my training," Obada said. "I'm going to work on my weaknesses – knowledge of the game, just recognizing things a bit quicker in terms of my keys against the run and things like that.
"I definitely want to step into a more secure role, into a leadership role on this team. That's what I'm working toward."