The future of Ravens outside linebacker Odafe Oweh

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens linebacker Odafe Oweh hasn’t had outstanding stats since the team selected him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Oweh has received praise, though, from coach John Harbaugh, general manager Eric DeCosta and the assistant coaches for his work ethic and the intangibles he brings to the team.

DeCosta has a big decision to make this offseason on whether to pick up Oweh’s fifth-year option, which would cost them a reasonable $14.4 million.

“We were really happy with [Oweh’s] game this year,” DeCosta said. “I think sometimes people get really caught up in the number of sacks that people get. We prefer to look at pressures and disruptions and their ability to affect the game. Odafe’s probably one of the hardest-working players we have on our defense.”

This past season, Oweh appeared in 13 games after dealing with an ankle injury in Week 2 and finished with 23 tackles, 12 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and tied a career-high with five sacks. Oweh led the team with a pass rush win rate of 18.2 percent, according to Pro Football Focus. That’s the type of performance that earns praise from his teammates and coaches.

Oweh should continue to get plenty of opportunities to make plays in 2024. If the Ravens do not pick up his fifth-year option, a strong performance could go a long way in boosting his value as a free agent.

Last year, the Ravens decided not to pick up inside linebacker Patrick Queen’s fifth-year option, and he wound up having his best season in the NFL, finishing with a career-high 125 tackles (78 solo). He also matched a career high with six passes defensed while adding 3 1/2 sacks, nine tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Queen earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl and has a free-agent market value of five years, $92.6 million, which is likely out of Ravens’ price range.

Oweh could follow a similar path.

“He has a great motor,” DeCosta said. “[He] plays with a passion. He’s an exciting young prospect. He has battled back from some injuries, and we think that this is going to be a great season for him. We’re very, very excited about what he brings to the table this year as one of our primary edge rush guys.”

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