Skip to main content

Eric DeCosta: Picking Up Odafe Oweh's Fifth-Year Option Was 'Clear Cut'

OLB Odafe Oweh
OLB Odafe Oweh

Last year, Eric DeCosta wrestled with the decision of whether to pick up inside linebacker Patrick Queen's fifth-year option. This year's decision with outside linebacker Odafe Oweh was a slam dunk.

Speaking on "The Lounge" podcast last week, the Ravens general manager talked about what went into the decision on Oweh. The option, which is worth $13.25 million, keeps Oweh in Baltimore at least through the 2025 season.

"He plays a really important position," DeCosta said. "Analytically looking at him, he's been a productive player and he's been a disruptive player for us. We really do think his best is yet to come. He's had some injuries, he's overcome some injuries. He's a tenacious guy. He played some really good football last year."

Oweh had five sacks in 13 games last season, tying his career high. While the sack production wasn't eye popping, a deeper look shows how impactful Oweh was last season and forecasts a player who could have a breakout in 2024.

Oweh's pass rush win rate of 18.2% ranked tied for 10th among all EDGE defenders with at least 100 pass rushes, per Pro Football Focus.

Despite missing four games last season due to an ankle injury, Oweh finished 32nd in the league among edge rushers with 51 pressures. His pressure rate was better than several of the league's most productive sack producers from last year, including Danielle Hunter (16.5 sacks).

Making the decision on picking up the fifth-year option sometimes requires some projection, and the Ravens believe the picture is rosy for Oweh.

The economics of the team, and status of the Ravens' mostly young outside linebacker room, also impacted DeCosta's decision. He said not picking up Queen's option was mostly because of "allocation of resources" at inside linebacker (they had already paid Roquan Smith top-of-the-market money).

"It was a tough, tough thing for me to make that decision [on Queen]," DeCosta said. "This one was more clear cut just from the standpoint of he plays a critical position, we are not allocating a ton of money to that position … and if he has a great year this year, which I believe he will, his value will be times two next year. So it just made a lot of sense with that room of players.

"He's going to play this year at a good [salary] number, we believe he's going to produce really well, and that [contract] number next year is going to be worth it."

The Ravens have also surrounded Oweh with familiar faces. He was already planning to team up with former Blair Academy, N.J. high school teammate David Ojabo to stay healthy and wreak havoc this year. Then Baltimore drafted Oweh's college teammate, Adisa Isaac, in the third round this year.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens asked Oweh about Isaac before the draft.

"Odafe, he loved Adisa Isaac. He just loved him, and you can see why," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Oweh said he used to train often with Isaac at Penn State and they were both athletic "freaks." Oweh also landed another Blair Academy teammate in seventh-round safety Sanoussi Kane, who Oweh said first introduced him to lifting weights like a football player instead of a basketball player.

"They're making me feel really at home," Oweh said.

Related Content