How the Derek Wolfe departure affects the Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens officially reached an injury settlement with veteran defensive lineman Derek Wolfe on Tuesday, as confirmed by head coach John Harbaugh when speaking to reporters.
Wolfe recently underwent his second hip surgery of the offseason on Monday, an indication that he was set to miss his second consecutive season due to injury. In fact, it sure sounds like there’s a strong possibility that Wolfe will never play in another NFL game again.
The Ravens were already preparing to be without Wolfe this season and their actions this offseason reflect that. Still, hie official departure does a domino effect on the rest of the organization.
Not only does Wolfe’s release leave a hole on the depth chart, but it does help the Ravens create some extra cap space as we head into the summer. Perhaps that money could be used to add further depth to the roster.
The Ravens have the assets to properly replace Derek Wolfe
Wolfe originally joined the Ravens on a one-year, $3 million deal back in the 2020 offseason. The veteran defensive lineman was a revelation for the team and stepped up following injuries to the likes of Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams.
The Ravens rewarded Wolfe for his play with a new three-year, $12 million contract the following offseason. Unfortunately, he’d never actually play a game on that new deal.
Wolfe suffered what was described at the time as a minor back injury during the team’s joint practices with the Carolina Panthers last summer. But that injury would go on to sideline him for the entire 2021 season.
What would follow would be a tumultuous 8-10 months of uncertainty surrounding his status. The Ravens and Wolfe just never seemed to be on the same page when it came to determining the severity of his injury.
Now, the Ravens will be forced to turn to the likes of Justin Madubuike, Brent Urban, Broderick Washington, and Travis Jones as they look to replace him in the starting lineup.
Wolfe was a good player in 2020, but the Ravens were prepared for his departure. The offseason additions of Urban, Jones, and even Michael Pierce showed that the Ravens weren’t banking on a healthy Wolfe returning in 2022.
Their defense should be fine without him.
As far as finances go, it’s unclear exactly how much cap space the Ravens saved at the time of writing. What is clear, however, is that the Ravens could use that money to add another piece to their defensive line or to address another position of need.
Baltimore remains active in the veteran pass-rusher market and could target another position such as wide receiver. All options are on the table.
Ultimately, it’s always unfortunate to see a player’s career derailed by injuries, and Derek Wolfe is no exception. Both sides are likely happy to put this tragic saga behind them and move on.