Odafe Oweh

Ravens Pick Up Odafe Oweh’s Fifth-Year Option

The Ravens made a pair of first-round selections in 2021, but the case of wideout Rashod Bateman required the team to work out an extension rather than deciding on his fifth-year option. A move still needed to be made with respect to edge rusher Odafe Oweh, however.

[RELATED: Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

The latter had his option exercised on Tuesday, per a team announcement. Oweh does not have a Pro Bowl on his resume, and he has not met the playtime threshold needed for the next-highest tier regarding option values. As a result, the 25-year-old will be tied to a $13.25MM salary in 2025.

Much like fellow Penn State product (and 2024 draftee) Chop RobinsonOweh’s college career was marked more by his athletic traits and resultant upside than his production. In the case of both players, though, they heard their names called on Day 1, producing considerable expectations. Oweh totaled seven sacks with the Nittany Lions across three years, including none in 2020.

That led to questions about his ability to transition to the pro game, although a five-sack rookie campaign appeared to ease such concerns. Oweh logged a 65% snap share that season, but his playing time decreased the following year; he posted two fewer sacks and nine fewer QB pressures (16) in response. The Ravens made another notable draft investment along the edge in 2022 (second-rounder David Ojabo), but his injury-induced absence left the team in need of experienced additions.

Baltimore added Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy in 2023, and both veterans enjoyed productive campaigns. Clowney parlayed his success into a two-year Panthers agreement, but Van Noy has re-signed with the Ravens. He, Ojabo and 2024 third-rounder Adisa Isaac will be key members of the team’s edge contingent moving forward.

Oweh will also be a central figure for the unit, though. The 6-5, 257-pounder recorded five sacks last season while playing a career-low 50% of the team’s defensive snaps. Clowney’s departure (along with the fact Tyus Bowser, who missed the entire year, was released) could open up playing time for Oweh in an important fourth campaign. General manager Eric DeCosta has praised his potential against the pass, and his play against the run – 99 stops, 16 tackles for loss in his career – could keep him firmly in the team’s plans for years to come. Still, expectations will continue to be high for Oweh knowing he is in line for a notable raise in 2025.

2025 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2021 first-rounders. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternates) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag
  • Players who achieve any of the following will receive the average of the third-20th-highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position

With the deadline looming, we will use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($25.66MM): Exercised
  2. QB Zach Wilson, Broncos* ($22.41MM): Declined
  3. QB Trey Lance, Cowboys** ($22.41MM): Declined
  4. TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($10.88MM): Exercised
  5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals ($21.82MM): Exercised
  6. WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins ($15.59MM): Exercised
  7. T Penei Sewell, Lions ($19MM): Extended through 2029
  8. CB Jaycee Horn, Panthers ($12.47MM): Exercised
  9. CB Patrick Surtain, Broncos ($19.82MM): Exercised
  10. WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($15.59MM): Extended through 2028
  11. QB Justin Fields, Steelers*** ($25.66MM): Declined
  12. DE Micah Parsons, Cowboys ($21.32MM): Exercised
  13. T Rashawn Slater, Chargers ($19MM): Exercised
  14. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jets ($13.31MM): Exercised
  15. QB Mac Jones, Jaguars**** ($25.66MM): Declined
  16. LB Zaven Collins, Cardinals ($13.25MM): Declined
  17. T Alex Leatherwood, Raiders: N/A
  18. LB Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins ($13.3MM): Exercised
  19. LB Jamin Davis, Commanders ($14.48MM): Declined
  20. WR Kadarius Toney, Chiefs***** ($14.35MM): Declined
  21. DE Kwity Paye, Colts ($13.4MM): Exercised
  22. CB Caleb Farley, Titans ($12.47MM): Declined
  23. T Christian Darrisaw, Vikings ($16MM): Exercised
  24. RB Najee Harris, Steelers ($6.79MM): Declined
  25. RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($6.14MM): Exercised
  26. CB Greg Newsome, Browns ($13.38MM): To be exercised
  27. WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens ($14.35MM): N/A; extended through 2026
  28. DE Payton Turner, Saints ($13.39MM): Declined
  29. CB Eric Stokes, Packers ($12.47MM): Declined
  30. DE Greg Rousseau, Bills ($13.39MM): Exercised
  31. LB Odafe Oweh, Ravens ($13.25MM): Exercised
  32. LB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Buccaneers ($13.25MM): Declined

* = Jets traded Wilson on April 22, 2024
** = 49ers traded Lance on August 25, 2023
*** = Bears traded Fields on March 16, 2024
**** = Patriots traded Jones on March 10, 2024
***** = Giants traded Toney on October 27, 2022

Latest On Ravens’ Edge Rush Pursuit

One of the position groups still surrounded by question marks for the Ravens is that of edge rusher. The team has been connected to a number of veterans this offseason, but little progress has been made lately on any noteworthy additions. 

Arguably the most logical move available is a reunion with Justin Houston. The 33-year-old spent last season with the team, starting all 15 contests he appeared in. He totalled 4.5 sacks and 17 QB hits, providing consistency to an otherwise inexperienced unit. The Ravens have yet to re-sign him, but they placed the rarely-used UFA tender on him. That leaves Houston free to sign with another team until July 22, at which point Baltimore will hold exclusive negotiating rights; a deal on the tender would pay him slightly more than the $2.1MM he made in 2021.

As that deadline approaches, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes that the situation between the two sides remains “in a holding pattern” (subscription required). That could lead to a further opportunity for fellow veteran Jason Pierre-Paul to be brought into the fold. The two-time Super Bowl winner visited the Ravens last month, as he looks to join a contender on the open market once again. He had a down season in 2021 with only 2.5 sacks, but is one year removed from his third Pro Bowl campaign.

At present, the Ravens are led in the pass-rush department by Tyus Bowser, whose Week 1 availability remains in doubt due to the torn Achilles he suffered at the end of last season. The same injury will delay second round rookie David Ojabo‘s NFL debut for a significant period of time. That leaves 2021 draftees Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes in line for sizeable roles, with recent signing Steven Means available as depth.

With the aforementioned injury concerns, as well as, unfortunately, a roster spot open after the death of Jaylon Ferguson, Zrebiec “wouldn’t rule out” the possibility of both Houston and Pierre-Paul playing in Baltimore this season. The team is severely lacking in cap space right now, so adding both would be difficult from a financial standpoint; however, the signing of one could be the move most likely to happen between now and training camp.

Ravens Sign First-Round Pick Odafe Oweh

Odafe Oweh is officially in the books. On Friday, the Ravens signed the first-round defensive end to his rookie contract.

Per the terms of his No. 31 overall slot, Oweh will earn $12.6MM over the course of his four-year deal. That’s not too shabby for an athlete who did not play football until his junior year of high school. Turns out, he was a natural. The Penn State product measured out as one of the most athletic edge rushers in the lead-up to the draft and wound up as one of the final selections in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Oweh finished his collegiate career with All-Big Ten honors, 6.5 tackles for loss, and one a pass breakup at Penn State. He didn’t score a sack in his seven games, but he did notch five sacks in 2019.

Here’s the full rundown of the Ravens’ 2021 draft class:

Round 1: No. 27 Rashod Bateman, WR (Minnesota) (signed)
Round 1: No. 31 (from Chiefs) Odafe Oweh, DE (Penn State) (signed)
Round 3: No. 94 (from Chiefs) Ben Cleveland, G (Georgia)
Round 3: No. 104 Brandon Stephens, CB (SMU)
Round 4: No. 131 Tylan Wallace, WR (Oklahoma State) (signed)
Round 5: No. 160 (from Cardinals) Shaun Wade, CB (Ohio State) (signed)
Round 5: No. 171 Daelin Hayes, LB (Notre Dame) (signed)
Round 5: No. 184 Ben Mason, FB (Michigan) (signed)