Sidelined during the season’s first half, Derek Wolfe will not end up playing at all for the Ravens in 2021.
Wolfe has missed extensive time due to hip and back injuries. Although he returned to practice late last month, his 21-day window to be officially activated closed Tuesday. He is now back on IR and must remain there for the rest of the season.
Harbaugh said he does not “understand [the situation] completely,” per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, but the veteran defensive lineman was “not in a place” where a return this season is possible.
The 10th-year D-lineman practiced just once during his IR-return window and is set to miss a full season for the first time in his career. Wolfe has dealt with injuries for much of his NFL run but has never previously missed more than five regular-season games. This news comes months after the Ravens re-signed him on a three-year, $12MM deal.
One of many starters from the Broncos’ dominant 2015 defense still active, Wolfe played eight seasons in Denver and wanted to return on a third contract. But the Broncos went in a different direction in 2020, leading Wolfe to Baltimore. He started eight games for last season’s playoff-bound Ravens squad, making 51 tackles and registering just one sack. Wolfe and Calais Campbell represented key veteran additions for last year’s team, but the former’s career is at a crossroads after this news.
The Ravens guaranteed Wolfe $8.5MM. It will be interesting if they are still interested in the former second-round pick returning in 2022 for his age-32 season. A near-$4MM dead-money hit would come if Wolfe is released.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.