Ravens taking calculated risk by picking up Odafe Oweh's fifth-year option

Oweh is back for 2025.
Seattle Seahawks v Baltimore Ravens
Seattle Seahawks v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens traditionally have a very high success rate on their first-round picks in the NFL Draft, but their two first-rounders from the 2021 class, wide receiver Rashod Bateman and pass rusher Odafe Oweh, haven't managed to take off in the way Eric DeCosta may have expected.

The Ravens aren't abandoning the idea of Bateman becoming an ideal WR2 for Lamar Jackson or Oweh eventually evolving into the dynamic speed rusher his athleticism would suggest. Baltimore committed to Bateman when they signed him to an extension through the 2026 season.

Even with Kyle Van Noy being retained in free agency and another Penn State pass rusher in Adisa Isaac added via the third round in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Ravens still went out of their way to support Oweh. After some controversy about picking up his fifth-year option, Baltimore has made a decision.

The Ravens are officially picking up the fifth-year option on Oweh's contract, which will guarantee that he ends up earning an eight-figure salary in 2025. The Ravens have been willing to let developmental players gestate for long periods of time, and they aren't giving up on Oweh just yet.

Ravens pick up fifth-year option on EDGE Odafe Oweh

Oweh has recorded 13 sacks in his three seasons with the Ravens, following a five-sack performance in his rookie year with a disappointing three-sack effort in 2022 and five more quarterback takedowns last year. For a first-round pick, those numbers aren't world-beating.

With the Ravens having let Jadeveon Clowney leave in free agency, they seem to be placing a big bet on Oweh finally tapping into his unprecedented levels of athletic ability. A breakout in his fourth year in the league wouldn't be uncommon, especially considering what his teammate on the defensive line just did.

Justin Madubuike had been an average defensive tackle to start his Ravens career, but a preposterous 2023 campaign led to a contract worth just under $100 million over four seasons. He finally managed to put it all together, which is what Baltimore expects Oweh to do after this commitment to him.

Not only is this a sign that Baltimore believes Oweh is in for a breakout season, but it prevents them from falling into the same situation that forced Patrick Queen away to the rival Steelers. Baltimore showed what they think of Oweh and his talent. Now, it's on him to justify that confidence.