Derek Wolfe

DL Derek Wolfe Retires After 10 Seasons

After the events of this offseason, it was considered a longshot for veteran defensive lineman Derek Wolfe to play again in the NFL. Today, the former Bronco and Raven confirmed those thoughts, officially retiring after nine seasons played in the league (10 in total). 

He announced the decision via a video shared on the Broncos’ Twitter page (link). “I’ve decided it’s time to step away from the game,” he said. “Time for a new beginning.”

The 32-year-old had dealt with injuries throughout his career, but none as significant as the hip ailment which kept him sidelined for the entire 2021 campaign, which would have been his second in Baltimore. In March, it was reported that Wolfe was considering retirement, pending his ability to recover in full from surgery. The chances of that happening were considered slim in June, however, after he underwent a second procedure allowing him to “live a normal life.”

One day later, he and the Ravens parted ways, though Wolfe was still able to receive a portion of the guaranteed money remaining on his deal, a three-year extension signed the previous offseason. He had established himself as an effective run-stopper in his lone season on the field with the Ravens, continuing his high level of play dating back to his time in Denver.

A second-round pick of the Broncos in 2012, Wolfe registered 299 tackles and all but one of his 34 career sacks in the Mile High City. He was a member of the Super Bowl winning 2015 squad, one whose defensive front led the team to the title. His play earned him multiple contract extensions, pushing his career earnings over $52MM.

Today’s announcement confirms that Wolfe isn’t recovered to the point where he can continue playing, but he can now turn his attention squarely to the next chapter of his life.

Ravens Notes: Stanley, Left Guard, Running Backs

Ravens All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley has only appeared in one game since injuring his ankle in November of 2020. Fortunately, it sounds like the lineman could soon be back on the field, as head coach John Harbaugh gave a positive on the lineman’s status.

“Ronnie’s ankle is looking great,” Harbaugh said (via Clifton Brown of the team’s website). “Ronnie’s mission right now will be to get in the best shape of his life and get ready to play football, and that’s what he’s working on.”

Stanley suffered a severe ankle injury during Week 8 of the 2020 season. He tried to return for the 2021 campaign, and after appearing in 100 percent of his team’s offensive snaps in Week 1, he ultimately decided to opt for more surgery. Prior to his injury, Stanley was among the top left tackles in the NFL, with Pro Football Focus consistently ranking him among the best at his position. The team’s primary goal is to have the veteran ready for Week 1, per Brown.

“I expect him to play like Ronnie Stanley,” Harbaugh added. “He’s really motivated to do it. Just talked to him again today. He’s chomping at the bit to get back. If he plays like Ronnie Stanley, and even better, than the significance is almost immeasurable. And that’s what we’re hoping for.”

More out of Baltimore…

  • Elsewhere on the offensive line, it sounds like Ben Cleveland and Tyre Phillips are competing for Baltimore’s starting left guard spot, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. The writer believes Cleveland will be given every opportunity to win the job, although he’ll have to improve his ability to stay healthy and practice well. Meanwhile, Phillips has been forced to fill in at tackle over the past two years, but the coaching staff believes he has the skills to contribute at the position.
  • J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards didn’t see the field last season, but Harbaugh indicated that both of his RBs are trending in the right direction as they look to make their return. “You talk to J.K., he’s the starting running back today, he should’ve been practicing today,” Harbaugh said (via Brown). “But he’s got work to do still, so does Gus. But they’re both I think doing great. We’ll see how they look when they come back.”
  • The head coach also spoke highly of the team’s healthy running backs, a grouping that includes free agent addition Mike Davis and rookie sixth-round pick Tyler Badie. “[I’m] very positive about Mike Davis,” Harbaugh said. “He shows up as a veteran running back. [He’s] quick, has really good vision, and he’s always been a good receiving running back, but when you see it in person, it kind of opens your eyes. I’ll say, Tyler Badie, too, is a receiving running back. These guys kind of jumped out that way in these camps.”
  • Before letting go of defensive tackle Derek Wolfe with an injury settlement, the Ravens had been operating as if they wouldn’t have the veteran on the field this season, per Zrebiec. After signing a three-year extension last offseason, Wolfe suffered a back injury that ultimately cost him the entire 2021 season. January hip surgery led to retirement talk, and Wolfe recently revealed that he had undergone another hip surgery later in the offseason. As Zrebiec notes, the team made plenty of moves to assure they wouldn’t be relying on the veteran, including the re-signing of Calais Campbell, using a third-round pick on Travis Jones, and signing veteran Brent Urban.

Ravens, DL Derek Wolfe Part Ways Via Injury Settlement

A day after Derek Wolfe revealed he underwent a second hip surgery this year, John Harbaugh said he is no longer with the Ravens. The sides parted ways Tuesday via an injury settlement, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (on Twitter).

Wolfe has been with the Ravens since signing as a free agent in 2020. While he played 14 games during that season, hip and back trouble sidelined the veteran defensive lineman for all of the 2021 season. The Ravens opened Wolfe’s IR-return window but did not end up activating him, leading to a full-season IR stay.

Wolfe, 32, will still walk away with some guaranteed money. His contract called for $3.6MM guaranteed in 2022. But the longtime starter’s career may be coming to a close. Post-surgery, Wolfe said he is looking to “live a normal life,” potentially pointing to his career wrapping after 10 years. Though Wolfe was on pain medication while making his statement, it is easy to see him walking away after this lengthy ordeal. The Cincinnati alum was considering retirement after the first of his two 2022 hip operations.

The former Broncos second-round pick has 116 starts on his resume. Wolfe has played through injuries for much of his career and missed Denver’s stretch run to Super Bowl XLVIII after being hospitalized due to seizure-like symptoms. He returned for the 2014 season, reclaiming his starting post, and teamed with Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Malik Jackson to form a dominant pass rush that took over the AFC championship game and Super Bowl 50 to close out the 2015 season.

Just prior to those playoffs, Wolfe signed an extension to stay in Denver. Although the Broncos did not give him the third contract he sought in 2020, Wolfe scored two deals with the Ravens. The interior D-lineman has earned more than $50MM during his career.

Derek Wolfe Undergoes Another Hip Surgery

Following Derek Wolfe‘s January hip surgery, the veteran defensive lineman was connected to retirement rumors. Those are not likely to stop. Wolfe revealed Monday he underwent his second hip operation of the year (h/t Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun, on Twitter).

The former Super Bowl starter did not play last season, spending the year on IR. He is tied to a fully guaranteed $3.6MM 2022 salary. Wolfe, 32, said he is looking to “live a normal life,” following this surgery. While that goes without saying, the sentiment may move him further from the prospect of playing another NFL season.

Baltimore picked up Wolfe in 2020, after the Denver did not give him a second extension. The ex-Von MillerDeMarcus Ware sidekick played a key role for the Ravens’ 2020 defense, starting eight games and playing in 14. The team then gave Wolfe a three-year, $12MM deal in March 2021.

Although Wolfe has dealt with injuries for much of his career, 2021 marked the only season in which he missed more than five games. The Ravens began his IR-return period in October but let the three-week window expire, leading the veteran D-lineman back to season-ending IR. Hip trouble, along with a back issue, led to Wolfe’s season-long absence. The Wolfe-Ravens partnership may be nearing an end, with this hip procedure likely a threat to his early-season availability.

The Ravens entered the offseason with few proven defensive linemen on their roster. The team has, however, brought back both Calais Campbell and Michael Pierce. Baltimore also signed Brent Urban, who was with the team from 2015-18. The vets join starter Justin Madubuike, third-year cog Broderick Washington and third-round pick Travis Jones in the team’s primary D-line mix. Nine-year contributor Brandon Williams remains a free agent.

Ravens’ Derek Wolfe Considering Retirement

There is a strong possibility the Ravens’ front seven could look much different in 2022 than it did last season. On paper, one source of continuity would be defensive linemen Derek Wolfe. However, there is a chance he has already played his final game in the NFL. 

[RELATED: Ravens To Sign DT Michael Pierce]

According to Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun, Wolfe “said he’s considering retirement but plans to return to the field”. The reason his football future is in doubt stems from multiple injuries. The 32-year-old missed the entire 2021 campaign due to back issues. There was optimism he would be able to return to the field midway through the season, but the team placed him on IR for the second time in November.

The most pressing issue injury-wise for Wolfe is now the recovery from hip surgery he underwent in January. “We’ll see what happens with if I retire or not or if I keep playing”, he recently said. “I’m not sure yet. We’ve got to see how this hip goes”, although Shaffer’s report indicates that the aforementioned back ailment could also remain an issue into the future.

As mentioned, Wolfe does still intend to play in 2022, something he confirmed in a tweet. If so, he would provide a welcomed boost to the teams’ defensive line, which could lose fellow starters Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams in free agency. In 2021, Wolfe’s first season in Baltimore, he totalled 51 tackles, tying his career high. That performance earned him a three-year, $12MM extension last offseason.

A Super Bowl winner during his eight seasons in Denver, Wolfe apparently faces a difficult path to return to the field for a tenth season. If that doesn’t happen, the Ravens would have another hole to fill along their defensive front.

Derek Wolfe Will Not Play This Season

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, 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.

Ravens Designate Derek Wolfe To Return

Derek Wolfe has been designated for return from the injured reserve list, per a club announcement. The defensive end has yet to play this season but could make his 2021 debut inside of the next three weeks. 

Wolfe, an eight-year Broncos starter, signed with the Ravens in 2020 and played in 14 games. Unfortunately, back and hip injuries hindered him throughout the summer. Last year, Wolfe finished out with one sack, one fumble recovery, six tackles for loss, and two pass breakups.

The veteran has dealt with injuries throughout his career, including a scary neck injury that kept him out of Super Bowl XLVIII and related neck trouble in 2017. His 2019 season also ended prematurely due to an elbow injury. Still, he was productive in Denver and even managed a career-high seven sacks in ’19, despite playing in just 12 games.

On the other side of the ball, the Ravens are awaiting the return of tight end Nick Boyle. He was designated for return on Oct. 20, so the Ravens have a little over two weeks to return him to the active roster.

Ravens Elevate RB Le’Veon Bell

Le’Veon Bell‘s Ravens debut could be coming soon. The team elevated the former All-Pro running back to its active roster Saturday, doing so while placing Derek Wolfe on IR.

Amid a brutal run of injuries at running back, the Ravens worked out Bell shortly before Week 1 and signed him to their practice squad. Baltimore promoted Devonta Freeman ahead of the ex-Steelers star but now will have Bell on its active roster as well in Week 4.

Bell joins Freeman, Ty’Son Williams and Latavius Murray on Baltimore’s 55-man Week 4 roster. Teams can dress up to 48 players each week. The Ravens have gone with a committee approach at running back, using Williams and Murray mostly. Freeman has seen sporadic work behind the team’s top duo.

To label Bell’s past three-plus years as underwhelming would be quite the understatement. Following Bell’s 2018 full-season holdout, the lucrative Jets deal he inked failed spectacularly. The Jets dropped Bell midway through last season. While the Chiefs picked him up, Bell saw scant action in the playoffs and was a healthy scratch for both the AFC championship game and Super Bowl LV. The Ravens extended the two-time All-Pro another chance, however, and Bell will likely soon begin his age-29 season.

Wolfe has not played this season and will miss his Denver homecoming game. The eight-year Broncos starter signed with the Ravens in 2020 and played in 14 games, but back and hip injuries have sidelined him since August. The veteran defensive lineman will be out through at least Week 6.

Baltimore also elevated tackle Andre Smith and cornerback Kevon Seymour from its practice squad, with Smith being named a COVID-19 roster replacement for Jaylon Ferguson, who will miss a second straight game after having tested positive. The Ravens did not activate receivers Rashod Bateman or Miles Boykin.

Ravens Place Justin Houston, Brandon Williams, Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Ravens look set to be without several key defenders against the Lions on Sunday. They placed three defensive starters on their reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Jaylon Ferguson join defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike in landing on Baltimore’s coronavirus list. While differing protocols exist for vaccinated an unvaccinated players, Friday placements on the virus list leave teams in a bind. This quartet is set to miss Baltimore’s Week 3 game.

It is unclear which members, if any, of the group tested positive. Positive tests would jeopardize their availability for the Ravens’ Week 4 game against the Broncos. Regardless, this continues a brutal season for the Ravens on the availability front.

Baltimore is already without defensive end Derek Wolfe, having ruled out the veteran lineman due to a back injury. Williams has been a starter since 2014, while Madubuike — a 2020 third-round pick — played 49% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in Week 2.

Houston, 32, has started both Baltimore’s games, lining up opposite Tyus Bowser. The Ravens do have first-round pick Odafe Oweh and Bowser set to be available. Pernell McPhee‘s status is uncertain due to a shoulder injury that prevented him from practicing Friday. Houston, who managed to avoid injuries during both his Colts seasons, will miss his first game since the 2018 season. The veteran edge rusher does not have a sack yet this season but obviously serves as a key player for a Ravens team that let Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue walk in free agency.

Baltimore withstood its numerous injuries to upend Kansas City on Sunday night, but the AFC power’s lineup will be filled with backups in Detroit. The team will again be without left tackle Ronnie Stanley on Sunday as well, ruling the All-Pro blocker out due to an ankle injury.

Derek Wolfe, Ravens Agree To Terms

5:15pm: These talks will lead to a contract agreement. The Ravens are bringing back Wolfe and will do so on a multiyear deal this year. Wolfe will sign a three-year, $12MM deal to stay in Baltimore, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets.

4:59pm: Derek Wolfe may be on track to securing a second contract agreement with the Ravens. The veteran defensive lineman indicated he is close to re-signing with the Ravens, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets.

The Ravens have lost their top two edge rushers from last season, with Matt Judon going to the Patriots and Yannick Ngakoue committing to the Raiders. But they still have Calais Campbell under contract and made moves to retain their backup edges — Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser — and appear to have a second Wolfe deal in sight.

A Broncos starter for eight seasons, Wolfe moved on to the Ravens last season. He started eight games, playing 58% of Baltimore’s defensive snaps. The 2021 season will be Wolfe’s age-31 campaign.

Wolfe played a key role for the Broncos’ Super Bowl champion defense but was not prioritized in Denver last year. It appears the Ravens view the run defender/inside pass rusher as an important cog as they attempt to reconstruct their pass rush.