Tyus Bowser

Ravens OLB David Ojabo Out For Season; Tyus Bowser’s Status Remains Uncertain

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.

Ravens Hoping For 2023 Return By OLBs Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo

The Ravens lead the NFL in sacks entering Week 9, despite the team’s edge rushing group being less than full strength throughout the season. It appears likely that will remain the case for the rest of the campaign, but the team has not closed the door on one or two notable reinforcements arriving.

Baltimore is “holding out hope” that Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo could return later in the 2023 season, as noted by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required). The former has yet to play this year, as he continues to rehab a knee injury. A setback encountered on that front during the summer led to Bowser starting the year on the NFI list, but head coach John Harbaugh has since admitted the 28-year-old’s availability for 2023 could be in doubt.

Bowser saw a signficant jump in playing time each season from 2019-21, and he recorded 14 sacks across that span. That increased production from his first two years, along with his versatility as a run defender and in coverage, seemed to make his four-year, $22MM extension inked in March 2021 a wise investment. The former second-rounder suffered an Achilles tear at the end of the 2021 campaign, however, and he was limited to nine games last season. Being able to have Bowser in the fold in any capacity this year would be a welcomed development for the Ravens, a team which counted on signficant production from its young edge rushers ahead of 2023.

That included big expectations for Ojabo. The 2022 second-rounder only made two appearances as a rookie after rehabbing the Achilles tear he suffered during his Pro Day. At full health by the start of this campaign, the 23-year-old had a clear path to an increased workload and he logged a 38% snap share in his three games in 2023. Ojabo is now dealing with knee and ankle injuries, however, which have landed him on IR. Harbaugh said one month ago that the Michigan alum is in danger of missing the rest of the campaign, so a late recovery and return to the field would come as a surprise at this point.

With Bowser and Ojabo out of the picture for now, Baltimore will continue to relay on Odafe Oweh, Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy and Tavius Robinson along the edge. The Ravens showed some interest in trading for Chase Young ahead of this week’s deadline, but their inaction on that front marked a show of confidence in their incumbent options. Getting back even one of Bowser or Ojabo would nevertheless represent a considerable boost to the team’s already impressive defense.

Ravens Set 53-Man Roster

The Ravens did a bit of work in the days leading up to the roster cut deadline, including the announced release of veteran running back Melvin Gordon. Still, there was a bit of work left to be done today. Here’s the remaining moves Baltimore made in order to get down to 53 players:

Waived:

Released:

The most surprising moves here come at cornerback. Especially with the recent injury trouble facing star corner Marlon Humphrey, the Ravens choice to not only cut two reliable backups in Seymour and Worley but also to waive the fifth-round rookie draft pick Kelly is shocking. The team did reinforce with several free agent veterans like Rock Ya-Sin, Ronald Darby, and Arthur Maulet, and they’re hoping to see strong seasons from second year cornerbacks Damarion Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis, both of whom were limited in their rookie seasons due to injury. Look for them to attempt to retain Seymour and Worley on the practice squad. Kelly will have to clear waivers in order to return, a tough ask for a fifth-round talent. Williams is expected to be placed on injured reserve following the deadline, opening a door for Worley or Seymour to return to the active roster.

Brown and Johnson put forth valiant efforts throughout the preseason, essentially allowing starting quarterback Lamar Jackson and primary backup Tyler Huntley to escape the preseason without really being touched. Unfortunately, neither made a strong enough case to remain on the regular season roster. Brown is surely a candidate to return to the practice squad, if he clears waivers.

Baltimore’s tradition of scouting undrafted talent continued this year as the team saw two free agent rookies make the initial 53-man roster. Former East Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell gave some strong impressions that helped him beat out Gordon and fellow undrafted signee Wright. Malik Hamm, Lafayette’s all-time sack leader, makes the team behind as of yet unproven pass rushers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo, veteran Jadeveon Clowney, and fellow rookie Tavius Robinson, a fourth-round pick out of Ole Miss.

Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser remains on the non-football injury list to start the season alongside long snapper Nick Moore, rookie guard Andrew Vorhees, and cornerback Trayvon Mullen. He’ll miss at least the first four games of the season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/21/23

Here are today’s minor transactions from around the league as teams prepare their rosters for training camp:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Washington Commanders

 

There are some big names in Baltimore that won’t be healthy to open camp. Two offensive youngsters who can’t seem to stay on the field, Dobbins and Bateman, continue to struggle to get healthy. Bateman sat out most of the spring after receiving a cortisone shot in hopes it would help get him back in time for camp. While he didn’t report, general manager Eric DeCosta expects him back soon, according to the team’s editorial director Ryan Mink. Dobbins has started thinking about his second contract this summer, and getting healthy will be key to gaining any leverage in negotiations. Ricard is no surprise, as head coach John Harbaugh predicted this placement a month ago. Bowser, though, experienced an unexpected flare up in his knee this spring after missing eight games last season.

In Cleveland, Goodwin experienced a medical scare recently when discomfort in his legs and shortness of breath turned out to be blood clots in his legs and lungs, according to James Palmer of NFL Network. He will miss the start of training camp as the clots are addressed.

In Denver, a kicking competition appears to be in the cards. The team held a workout for Maher, Elliott Fry, and Parker White back in May and ended up signing Fry. Now, with Maher joining the team, and the exit of Brandon McManus, the position battle between Maher and Fry will continue.

In Wisconsin, Gary and Stokes each ended their season after Week 9 of last year due to long-term injuries. Both will continue slowly working their way back in order to play big roles on defense.

In Vegas, Wilson, this year’s seventh overall pick, will have to be patient in finding his way to the field for his rookie year. He was expected to be cleared for training camp after ending his college career with a Lisfranc injury, but he’ll have to wait just a bit longer. The Raiders are counting on him to relieve some of the defensive responsibilities of Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby.

Ravens Activate Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo

NOVEMBER 1: As the team confirmed on Tuesday, both Bowser and Ojabo have been officially activated, which will provide a significant boost to the team’s edge rush as early as Week 9. The Ravens now have five activations remaining in 2022.

OCTOBER 31: The Ravens added a major piece to their defense today when they acquired linebacker Roquan Smith from the Bears. Shortly after pulling off the trade, John Harbaugh revealed that the team will also be activating two key defenders from the reserve list. Linebackers Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo will be activated this week, Harbaugh told reporters (via the team’s website). Bowser will be activated from the reserve/PUP list while Ojabo will be activated off the reserve/NFI list.

[RELATED: Ravens To Acquire Roquan Smith From Bears]

Bowser is expected to be ready to go and should make his first appearance of the 2022 season on Monday against the Saints. Ojabo may need a bit more time, but the Ravens have no choice but to activate him from NFI after designating the linebacker for return three weeks ago.

Bowser suffered a torn Achilles during the 2021 season finale. The former second-round pick had a breakout campaign last year, leading the Ravens with seven sacks while also contributing 59 tackles and 15 QB hits. He only started two games through his first four seasons in the NFL, collecting 10.5 sacks in 63 games.

Ojabo was a projected first-round pick before suffering a torn Achilles during his Pro Day. The injury didn’t force the Michigan product to fall too far down the draft board, with Baltimore scooping him up with the 45th pick. The rookie’s familiarity with defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald (dating back to their time at Michigan) should help reduce some of the NFL growing pains, but Harbuagh cautioned that Ojabo will have to get his feet wet at practice before he’s thrown into the fire.

“We’ll see where he’s at with it in terms of being ready,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a rookie, but he would also be possible as far as playing in the game.

“We’ve got to get him out there to practice more and see what he looks like. He hasn’t really been in any team period yet. We’ve got to take a look at the team period, look at how much he knows of the defense.”

In addition to Smith, the Ravens will be adding three linebackers to an already-formidable linebackers room. Patrick Queen, Josh Bynes, and Malik Harrison have received a lot of run at the position to begin the season.

Ravens Designate OLBs Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo For Return

12:43pm: Both Bowser and Ojabo have officially been designated for return. Each suited up for practice Wednesday, marking a good sign about the edge defenders’ near-future availability.

9:10am: The Ravens are moving closer to having their outside linebacker contingent at full strength. Both Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo are expected to practice this week, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets.

Both players are finishing off their recoveries from Achilles tears. Bowser sustained his injury in January, while Ojabo went down in March while preparing for the draft. Bowser is expected to return to practice Wednesday, while Zrebiec adds the Ravens anticipate their second-round pick suiting up for work later this week. Ojabo could return as soon as today. Bowser resides on the Ravens’ reserve/PUP list; Ojabo is on their reserve/NFI list.

Each player practicing this week opens a 21-day activation clock. Baltimore must activate these defenders within three weeks of each’s first practice. The Ravens landed on the wrong side of this equation recently, with Derek Wolfe reverting to season-ending IR after his activation window closed without a move onto the 53-man roster last season. But Bowser and Ojabo’s timetables have not changed this year. Each has been expected to return, with Bowser perhaps a bit ahead of Ojabo. That would make sense, given the timing of each’s injury. Ojabo returning to practice this week puts him in position to beat an initial timetable, one that had the first-round-level talent pegged to debut during the season’s second half.

These injuries have forced the Ravens to be active at the edge rusher position. They re-signed Justin Houston this offseason and added Jason Pierre-Paul early during the regular season. Houston has not played since suffering a groin injury in Week 3, leading to extensive JPP workloads despite his recent Baltimore debut. Pierre-Paul played well in Baltimore’s Week 6 win over Cincinnati, sacking Joe Burrow once and batting down two of his passes.

Bowser, who re-signed with the Ravens on a four-year deal worth $22MM in 2021, and Ojabo debuting soon would form a suddenly deep rotation — one also featuring 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh — for a Ravens team that has needed to make some adjustments at this position. Baltimore has used off-ball ‘backer Malik Harrison on the edge at points.

Latest On Ravens’ Pass Rushing Situation

The Ravens signed veteran edge defender Jason Pierre-Paul earlier this week, and that transaction was consummated in order to offer an immediate boost to the team’s pass rushing contingent. It does not necessarily mean that anything has changed with respect to the prognoses of Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo.

Per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Baltimore is hopeful that Bowser will be on the field shortly after he is eligible to return from the PUP list (Twitter link). Bowser, who signed a four-year, $22MM contract in March 2021, rewarded the Ravens’ faith in him with a season in which he started all 17 games and registered career-highs in total tackles (59), sacks (seven), tackles for loss (eight), quarterback hits (15), and forced fumbles (two). Unfortunately, he suffered an Achilles tear in the 2021 finale and was placed on the reserve/PUP list in August, thereby guaranteeing that he would miss at least the first four games of the 2022 season.

Bowser does not necessarily excel in any one area, but he is useful against the run, in coverage, and as a pass rusher. His absence became even more significant when the Ravens lost Steven Means to an Achilles tear of his own last week, and Zrebiec’s report suggests that Bowser’s recovery is progressing more or less as expected.

Ojabo, meanwhile, was a first-round talent who fell to the second round of the 2022 draft due to (what else?) an Achilles tear during his Pro Day. GM Eric DeCosta chose to play the long game when he selected Ojabo, who was always expected to miss most, if not all, of his first season in the NFL. Per Zrebiec, the Ravens remain optimistic that the Michigan product can return in the second half of the season.

The Bowser injury and the dearth of proven pass rush talent on the roster meant that many free agent and collegiate edge defenders were connected to the Ravens this offseason (including Pierre-Paul, who first visited the team back in June). However, aside from the Ojabo selection and signing players like Means and Vince Biegel — who, almost predictably, tore his Achilles this summer — Baltimore did very little of note to address its needs in that regard.

The club did bring back Justin Houston, and it should be noted that the tragic death of Jaylon Ferguson also played a role in the team’s current lack of edge depth. The hope is that 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh, Houston, and Pierre-Paul can hold down the fort until Bowser and Ojabo are ready to return, though Oweh has been mostly invisible during the first two games of the season. There is plenty of time for him to get on track, but Baltimore was clearly relying on a second-year breakout from him, and he has yet to show signs of such an emergence.

Luckily, Pierre-Paul will not need much of a ramp-up period, as Zrebeic tweets. JPP will not be on the field for Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots, but he is in line to make his Baltimore debut during the club’s Week 4 contest against the Bills.

Ravens Notes: Dobbins, Jones, OLBs

Earlier this month, the Ravens got their top RB back on the practice field when they activated J.K. Dobbins. It was a welcomed sign for the team, after the former second-rounder missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL.

Dobbins is still not a lock to suit up in Week 1 as he continues to recover from the injury, however. As a result, he “won’t get a full workload” immediately upon his return, notes ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. The Ohio State product took over the lead role midway through his rookie season, averaging six yards per carry and scoring nine total touchdowns. Those figures led to major expectations last season, but his year-long absence (along with that of backup Gus Edwards, who will also miss at least the first month of the 2022 season) dealt a major blow to Baltimore’s run game.

The Ravens, unsurprisingly, will ease Dobbins back into lead-back duties. Given that, and Edwards’ ongoing recovery, the team will turn to a combination of veteran signing Mike Davis and, in all likelihood, sixth-round rookie Tyler Badie in support roles in the backfield.

Here are some other notes from Charm City:

  • Dobbins isn’t the only promising young player whose health status the team is watching carefully. Rookie defensive lineman Travis Jones is dealing with a sprained knee which should keep him sidelined for three to five weeks, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The third-rounder had an impressive training camp and preseason, and will be in line for at least a rotational role right way. The chances of his debut coming in Week 1 are greatly lessened by this news, though, so the Ravens will lean more heavily on starter Michael Pierce in the middle of the d-line.
  • The Ravens have been named as a potential landing spot for a veteran edge signing throughout the offseason, given the team’s relative lack of moves at the position. Especially considering the fact that projected starter Tyus Bowser was placed on the reserve/PUP list last week (guaranteeing that he will miss the first four weeks of the season), the team is thin at the position until he and/or second-round rookie David Ojabo recover from their respective Achilles tears. As such, a pass rush addition of some kind should be expected, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Athletic (subscription required). Jason Pierre-Paul, who visited the team earlier this offseason, tops the list of remaining free agents; plenty of other names are due to become available as well during final roster cuts.
  • In that same piece, Zrebiec also notes that wideout Demarcus Robinson‘s deal, signed last week, includes nearly $900K in guaranteed money. That should help ensure he remains on the roster, something he wasn’t able to do with the Raiders. The veteran had four catches for 135 yards and a touchdown during the team’s preseason finale, and figures to play a notable role in their receiver rotation.
  • Safety Tony Jefferson could find himself on the roster bubble tomorrow, but not for a lack of effort to return to his previous form. The 30-year-old suffered a knee injury in 2019 which cost him his starting spot; he underwent a total of four surgeries to repair the damage, Zrebiec details. Jefferson understandably considered retirement during the process, but has now recovered to the point where he came back to Baltimore last season and could carve out a role on the 2022 squad as well.

Ravens Activate LT Ronnie Stanley

The Ravens are in line to have their top left tackle available to start the season. The team announced on Friday that they have activated Ronnie Stanley from the PUP list. 

The news is encouraging for Stanley, who has played just one game since October 2020. The 28-year-old underwent a third ankle surgery not long after his 2021 Week 1 appearance, the only one of the campaign. Recovery from the lingering issues associated with the initial injury he suffered has been slow-moving and met with a great deal of uncertainty.

Nevertheless, the Notre Dame alum was expected to be back in time for Week 1 of the regular season as far back as this spring’s draft. A return to full health would be a massive boost to the Ravens’ offense, given the All-Pro’s abilities in pass protection in particular. Stanley ranks fourth amongst left tackles at an average of $19.75MM per year, so being able to play up to that figure would also be significant for the team from a financial standpoint.

The news isn’t all positive on the injury front, however. The Ravens also announced that outside linebacker Tyus Bowser has been placed on the reserve/PUP list, meaning that he will miss at least the first four weeks of the season. The team’s top pass rusher suffered a torn Achilles in the regular season finale, putting his fall availability in doubt. The 27-year-old posted a career-high seven sacks last year, and was projected to start alongside 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh.

Bowser’s absence, along with that of second-round rookie David Ojabo, who suffered the same injury during his Pro Day, leaves the Ravens thin in the edge department. Oweh and veteran Justin Houston are now likely to start, but an addition – something which has long been speculated regardless of Bowser’s status – would come as little surprise at this point.

Ravens Place Six Players On PUP List

The Ravens’ 2021 season was derailed by injuries, and the team is still feeling the effects of it as training camp opens up. The team announced on Friday that six players have been placed on the active/PUP list. 

On offense, left tackle Ronnie Stanley is among the players listed. The former All-Pro has played in just one game since October of 2020 due to multiple ankle surgeries. The team has remained optimistic that, unlike last season, a more cautious offseason approach can keep him on the field permanently once the regular season begins. Baltimore has several options to replace him if he remains sidelined, including veteran Ja’Wuan James – himself no stranger to injury problems.

Not surprisingly, running back J.K. Dobbins is also on the list. It was reported earlier this week that the 23-year-old might not be fully recovered from his ACL tear in time for the regular season opener. The progress of his rehab will be worth watching closely during camp, as is the case for fellow back Gus Edwards. He, like Dobbins, missed the 2021 season in its entirety, putting his September availability in question. Free agent signing Mike Davis and sixth-round rookie Tyler Badie could be in line for significant reps in camp.

Two key defenders are on the list as well. Cornerback Marcus Peters was named as a PUP candidate earlier this month, as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in the preseason. His return would be welcomed by the Ravens, who struggled mightily against the pass in 2021 and have a new-look CB room. The other member of the secondary on the list is safety Ar’Darius Washington, a former UDFA in contention for a backup role.

Finally, outside linebacker Tyus Bowser represents another unsurprising name on the list. The Ravens jack-of-all-trades edge rusher suffered a torn Achilles in the regular season finale, leaving his Week 1 availability in doubt throughout the offseason. With second-rounder David Ojabo dealing with the same ailment, Bowsers’ September health will be a key talking point in the build-up to the season.

Any of the above players can be activated at any time, though the chances of that happening in the near future is likely lower than that of many other PUP players previously announced, given the severity of many of these injuries.