The Baltimore Ravens decided to bring back Derek Wolfe for 2021 and beyond with a three-year extension. Here’s what the move means to the Ravens.
While not the most impactful player on the stat sheet, Derek Wolfe proved to be a solid addition to the Baltimore Ravens defense in 2020. For his efforts, the team has rewarded Wolfe with a three-year extension worth $12 million. The move may not be some ground-shattering signing that Ravens Flock was hoping for, but it is a really good business decision for a slew of different reasons.
For starters, bringing Wolfe back will ensure that there will remain continuity on the defensive line. Wolfe will rejoin Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams to give Baltimore on the league’s better defensive lines. The Ravens finished with the league’s eighth-best run defense in terms of YPG and Wolfe was a large factor in that success. His return ensures that this defense won’t miss a beat against the run in 2021 and beyond.
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Retaining Wolfe was also a smart move after the exodus the team experienced from its pass rush. Gone are Pro Bowlers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, as well as rotational man Jihad Ward. Those three combined for 12 of the Ravens 39 team sacks last season and the production will be difficult to replace with career backups filling in for them. Wolfe may not be a game-altering pass rusher, but he certainly will be helpful and relied upon in that department in 2021.
Perhaps the most important factor in bringing back Derek Wolfe was that Baltimore can continue to develop defensive linemen behind him for their future plans. The Ravens spent a third-round pick on Justin Madubuike a season ago with the hopes that he could turn into something special. Allowing Madubuike to continue developing behind Wolfe is a great move, as he was a relatively raw prospect coming out of Texas A&M.
Wolfe’s return will also allow the Ravens to find and develop more defensive linemen in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, as well. Allowing some of these youngsters to marinade and develop is something that Baltimore has always valued and Wolfe allows them to do just that.
Derek Wolfe’s impact as a team leader cannot be overstated, either. Wolfe provides a veteran presence to a very young defense and can easily take over a leadership role with the team as a whole. When Wolfe speaks, people listen.
All in all, this is a good move for both parties, as Baltimore retains a stud leader and Wolfe gets himself a nice little payday.
It’s not a move that will absolutely blow you away, but it is a very smart one. The Baltimore Ravens should be more than happy to bring Derek Wolfe back for the next few seasons and Wolfe will certainly be able to live up to his billing as a stud veteran and good player.