Ravens being noncommittal on Odafe Oweh fifth-year option is concerning

The Ravens might not bring back Oweh
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

After the 2024 NFL Draft, the way the Baltimore Ravens allocated resources shows they still have confidence in former first-round pick Odafe Oweh tapping into his unlimited well of athletic potential and becoming a starter for Baltimore next season. Beyond that, however, his future is still murky.

Oweh was taken No. 31 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft due to unprecedented athletic ability for a defensive end, as his production was so poor that he didn't record a single sack during his final season at Penn State. Rather than putting it all together in the pros (like Danielle Hunter in Minnesota), Oweh has been a perfectly average end.

The Ravens were eager to extend wide receiver Rashod Bateman despite years of middling production, but the latest comments from GM Eric DeCosta show there is some ambivalence toward giving Oweh that same vote of confidence before a pivotal 2024 season.

DeCosta said he was unwilling to confirm if he would pick up Oweh's fifth-year option. If he declines to do so, the Ravens could end up parting ways with Oweh in much the same way they let former top linebacker Patrick Queen leave the building this offseason.

Baltimore Ravens may not pick up fifth-year option for Odafe Oweh

Oweh has recorded 13 sacks in his pro career, never amassing more than five in any given season. While that's solid production for a young, raw player who saw his snaps limited by a deep rotation, the Ravens probably wanted more from a first-round pick.

While Oweh is still slated for a starting job, the retention of veteran Kyle Van Noy and the selection of fellow Penn State alum Adisa Isaac in the third round shows that Baltimore is guarding heavily against yet another year of middling production from their former top pick.

If the Ravens were to pick up his fifth-year option, Oweh would be paid $13.2 million. For a team that will operate right up to the edge of the salary cap due to big contracts like Lamar Jackson and Roquan Smith eating up a ton of space, that figure could impact their ability to replenish their depth.

Oweh could pull a Queen and make the Ravens look short-sighted for not believing in him as a defensive cornerstone, and he certainly has the explosion to do so. However, Baltimore needs to weigh the probability of what could happen if they invest in him and he keeps struggling.