Ravens Rumors: OLBs, Mitchell, Dobbins

The Ravens defense saw a number of surprise contributors in 2023. From backup safety Geno Stone leading the AFC in interceptions to Justin Madubuike, Jadeveon Clowney, and Kyle Van Noy exploding to help the team lead the NFL in sacks, Baltimore excelled thanks to contributions from players other than All-Pros like Roquan Smith, Kyle Hamilton, and Patrick Queen.

All four of the surprise contributors mentioned above had expiring contracts when the Ravens fell short of their Super Bowl aspirations. Madubuike received the franchise tag before ultimately signing a massive four-year, $98MM extension after his 13.0 sack-season. Stone earned a nice deal of his own, branching out to the division-rival Bengals as he searched for an opportunity to start full-time, instead of sharing the stage with Hamilton and Marcus Williams.

Clowney and Van Noy, on the other hand, remain free agents on the open market. Clowney saw a bounce-back season following a disappointing exit from Cleveland. Despite joining the roster in the middle of the preseason, Clowney would start 15 games for the Ravens, matching his career-high in sacks (9.5) while tallying nine tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hits, five passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. Despite early reports that both sides were interested in a new deal, the Panthers and Jets have swept in as teams with massive interest in signing Clowney.

Van Noy exploded for the rare career-year at 32 years old. Despite only starting three games as a rotation player, Van Noy finished third on the team with a career-high nine sacks. Van Noy hasn’t been nearly as active in free agency visits, but his stellar 2023 season all but ensures that he will earn at least one more NFL contract.

Head coach John Harbaugh recently claimed to be optimistic about the prospects of bringing one or both of Clowney and/or Van Noy back in 2024, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. If they aren’t able to do so, though, the Ravens continue to have faith in former first-round pick Odafe Oweh and former second-round pick David Ojabo. According to Harbaugh, Ojabo, who has only appeared in five games over his first two seasons, is healthy. The long-time head coach predicted a breakout season for the 23-year-old in 2024.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Baltimore, where our thoughts and condolences are after the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge:

  • The Ravens certainly lost a massive offensive chess piece when J.K. Dobbins suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in Baltimore’s season opener. Their losses compounded late in the season when, in the midst of a run towards the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Keaton Mitchell, an explosive undrafted rookie who was helping to replace Dobbins’ lost production, suffered an ACL tear in Week 15. General manager Eric DeCosta spoke on his recovery recently, saying that the team feels Mitchell is on track “to come back this season,” per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
  • Speaking of Dobbins, though he’s not currently a Raven after the team allowed his rookie contract to expire, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network informs us that the 25-year-old rusher has been cleared for football activities. His surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, said in a letter to select teams today that Dobbins looks “outstanding” coming off his torn Achilles. Dobbins is expected to begin taking visits soon, though the Ravens have not been mentioned much as a candidate to land his continued services.
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