The Ravens had been holding out hope that at least one of David Ojabo or Tyus Bowser would be able to suit up late in the season. The former is now out for the campaign, though, and the latter’s availability remains in the air at this point.
Ojabo was diagnosed with a partially torn ACL, head coach John Harbaugh said (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec). As a result, the second-year edge rusher underwent surgery last week. Harbaugh added that he expects Ojabo to be healthy by training camp, but the procedure confirms he will not play again in 2023. The 23-year-old was in danger of missing the rest of the campaign dating back to last month after after playing the first three weeks of the season.
Ojabo suffered an Achilles tear during his Pro Day in 2022, an injury which hurt his draft stock and forced him to miss much of his rookie campaign. The Michigan alum played just three combined regular and postseason games last year, but expectations were high for him entering the summer. A path to increased playing time was in place, and he did see an uptick in usage during his brief time on the field this September. He will now turn his attention to rehab, though, as the Ravens hope to see Bowser suit up for the first time in 2023.
The latter has been dealing with a knee injury since the summer, when a setback landed him on the NFI list. That threatened to delay Bowser’s 2023 debut, but the team has remained hopeful he will be able to play at some point down the stretch. On that point, Harbaugh said the 28-year-old’s knee will need to “calm down” before he is able to play, likely a reference to swelling which needs to be reduced.
If Bowser is able to play this year, his addition would be welcomed on a Baltimore defensive front which has relied heavily on veteran additions Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy along the edge so far. That pair has combined to post 13.5 of the team’s league-leading 45 sacks, but added depth would be beneficial. The Ravens have Odafe Oweh – who has himself dealt with an injury-induced absence earlier this season – and fourth-round rookie Tavius Robinson in place as their other main edge rushing options.
Bowser is attached to a four-year, $22MM deal signed in 2021. That pact marked an understandable commitment on the team’s part for his development early in his career into a starter, but injuries have hindered his ability to live up to the pact. He is set to carry a reasonable cap hit of $7.5MM next season, but none of his $5.5MM base salary is guaranteed. Managing to play some role late in the current campaign could thus be highly beneficial for both team and player in Bowser’s case.