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Ravens Insider: Ravens pick up fifth-year option on OLB Odafe Oweh


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Less than a week after using a draft pick on a former Penn State pass rusher, the Ravens made a somewhat surprising decision about another one on their roster.

Baltimore on Tuesday picked up the fifth-year option for Odafe Oweh, which will keep the outside linebacker under contract through the 2025 season.

Picking up the option will cost $13.251 million. The Ravens had until Thursday to decide on him and fellow 2021 first-round draftee Rashod Bateman, but the wide receiver signed an extension last week that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2026 season.

“We are happy to announce that the Ravens will be picking up Odafe Oweh’s fifth-year option,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement. “We look forward to watching him play great football for us this year.”

That Baltimore decided to pick up the option underscores its belief in the 25-year-old former first-round pick despite his inconsistencies.

Drafted 31st overall in 2021, the 6-foot-5, 257-pound Oweh has shown flashes of brilliance and improved since his rookie year, but his production has been underwhelming with just 13 career sacks and no more than five in any one season. He has also struggled to get near the quarterback with regularity, averaging just over 19 pressures a season for his career.

Last season, Oweh got off to a solid start with two tackles and three pressures in the Ravens’ season opener against the Houston Texans and eventual NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud, but he injured his ankle in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals and missed the next four games.

Oweh finished with five sacks and just 15 pressures, though he ranked 14th in win rate percentage among edge rushers with at least 270 snaps on passing plays, according to Pro Football Focus.

By comparison, however, there are other edge rushers in the same price range, or less, that had better numbers than Oweh last season. Chase Young had 7 1/2 sacks and 25 pressures with the Washington Commanders and San Francisco 49ers in 2023 before signing a one-year, $13 million fully guaranteed deal with the New Orleans Saints last month. Leonard Floyd, who signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the 49ers, had 10 1/2 sacks and 25 pressures for the Buffalo Bills last year.

Though the Ravens became the first team to lead the NFL in sacks, takeaways and points allowed per game last season, there are significant questions about its pass rushers going into this season. Keeping Oweh does at least maintain continuity with the thought that he could be poised to break out.

While Baltimore re-signed outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who had a career-high 9 1/2 sacks last season, running mate Jadeveon Clowney departed for the Carolina Panthers in free agency after matching his career high with nine sacks as well as being a valuable edge setter against the run. Injuries have limited David Ojabo, a 2022 second-round pick, to just five total games his first two years. The Ravens also released veteran Tyus Bowser, who had five sacks in 2019 and seven in 2021, after he unexpectedly missed all of last season with a mysterious knee injury.

Last month at the NFL owners’ meetings, coach John Harbaugh expressed optimism about his two young outside linebackers.

“I think [Ojabo] and Odafe are going to be partners in crime,” he said. “I think those guys are going to play great together. They are ready to roll, man.

“Every time I talk to them, every time I see them, they are brimming with enthusiasm. … They are both healthy. I can’t wait to get to work with those guys.”

On the outside, the Ravens drafted Tavius Robinson last year and Adisa Isaac out of Penn State in the third round this year, but both are unproven. Perhaps Oweh will prove a smart decision. Time will tell.

This story might be updated.

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