The Baltimore Ravens have come to an injury settlement with defensive end Derek Wolfe, head coach John Harbaugh announced on June 14, making the veteran defensive lineman a free agent.
Wolfe missed the entire 2021 season after suffering an injury during training camp and was reportedly considering retirement back in March after hip surgery. The 32-year-old clarified that he intended to return for the 2022 season, a plan that may have been waylaid by a second hip surgery underwent on June 13.
Wolfe’s $2 million salary for the 2022 season was guaranteed but an injury settlement indicates that the Ravens will not be on the hook for the full amount.
Brian McFarland, Ravens salary cap expert at Russell Street Report, offered some clarity on the situation during an appearance on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore. McFarland explained that Baltimore could have placed Wolfe on the Non-Football Injury list and filed a grievance to avoid paying his 2022 salary after the veteran defender posted pictures of himself carrying a 300-pound bear on his back in May.
Instead, Wolfe and the Ravens came to an agreement, though it is unknown at this time how much cap space Baltimore will retain from the settlement.
Harbaugh didn’t offer any additional details regarding Wolfe’s departure from Baltimore, only confirming that the team had reached an injury settlement with the player and adding, “that will be it with that.”
Ravens’ D-Line Depth After Wolfe’s Departure
If Wolfe’s departure from Baltimore had taken place back in March, it would have blown a massive whole in the Ravens’ defensive line.
But Baltimore is more than prepared to take on the 2022 season without Wolfe after investing heavily in their defensive front this offseason.
The Ravens re-signed Calais Campbell and reunited with Brett Urban to shore up their defensive end depth and drafted exciting defensive tackle prospect Travis Jones in the third round.
Baltimore also brought back defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who missed the first day of mandatory minicamp due to a “personal matter,” per Harbaugh.
Harbaugh Hypes Third-Year DL
Harbaugh also expressed excitement about third-year defensive lineman Broderick Washington, a 2020 fifth-round pick who was a rotational contributor for his first two NFL seasons.
“Broderick Washington is really stepping up,” said Harbaugh. “He played well last year, and he’s only getting better every single day.”
Washington appeared in 14 games in 2021 with two starts, playing consistently well against the run and even notching his first career sack against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in December.
The Ravens are also hoping that 2020 third-rounder Justin Madubuike can tap into his unrealized potential as an interior pass-rusher after he failed to deliver on his breakout hype in 2021. The pair of 2020 draft picks will be crucial to keeping Baltimore’s defensive line rotation fresh, especially with the 35-year-old Campbell entering his 15th NFL season.
Harbaugh also hinted at “a couple surprise guys in there, too,” along the defensive line. That could be two-way lineman Khalil McKenzie or Isaiah Mack, who flashed during limited snaps in 2021.
“I think the D-line is going to be really good,” concluding Harbaugh, indicating that Baltimore is planning on repeating as the NFL’s stingiest run defense in 2022.