CHARLOTTE -- Defensive end Efe Obada signed a contract extension on Monday morning, becoming the first 2020 free agent to re-sign with the Panthers.
Obada was set to be an exclusive rights free agent at the start of the new league year in March, but put pen to paper on a one-year extension.
"It's still an uphill battle," Obada said moments after signing. "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."
Obada just completed his second full NFL season, tallying 24 tackles, including two for loss. But after recording two sacks in 2018, he was not able to add to that total in 2019.
"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."
In Carolina's 37-26 victory in London in October, Obada was named one of the team's captains just prior to kickoff, an emotional tribute to his hard work and impact on the team in front of his home crowd. He finished the game with a tackle for loss and quarterback hurry, and nearly recorded a sack before teammate Vernon Butler stripped the ball from Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.
"Very special," Obada said of the win in London. "I think about it all the time now that everything has slowed down."
In his first active game in the NFL in 2018, Obada had a sack and interception against Cincinnati to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
He only began playing football several years ago with the London Warriors, a semi-pro team in England. He got his opportunity with the Panthers in 2017 when he joined the practice squad as part of the International Pathway Program.