By Jonas Shaffer The Baltimore Sun
The Ravens and defensive end Derek Wolfe have agreed to a one-year deal, addressing a position of need one day after a deal fell through for the team’s top free-agent acquisition.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Wolfe, 30, is coming off a career-best seven-sack season for the Denver Broncos, the only team he’s played for in his eight-year NFL career. He was one of the top free agents still available after the Ravens announced Friday that they would not be signing Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers, who’d agreed to sign before free agency opened March 18.
Concerns about an ankle injury reportedly doomed the three-year, $30 million deal for Brockers, who quickly signed a similar contract extension Friday with the Rams.
Wolfe, who was limited to 12 games last season after dislocating his elbow, could earn up to $6 million in 2020, according to ESPN.
Injuries have been a nagging problem through Wolfe’s career. While he’s played in at least 11 games every season since the Broncos took him No 36 overall out of Cincinnati in the 2012 draft, he’s played in all 16 games just three times. (In 2015, he missed four games for a violation of the NFL’s drug policy.) In 2017, he suffered a season-ending neck injury, and he hurt his elbow in Week 13 last year. The coronavirus pandemic has limited teams’ availability to evaluate players, but Wolfe appears close to full strength. On Friday, he posted a video to Twitter that he said was from two weeks ago in which he’s bench-pressing two 130-pound dumbbells. The caption reads: “Elbow is good to go.”
Wolfe joins a defense in need of pass-rush pop. The Ravens’ line combined for just five sacks last season, led by defensive end Chris Wormley (1 1/2), who was traded March 20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell, who can also wreak havoc as an interior pass rusher, underscored the team’s emphasis on upgrading its defensive line production.
Over 108 games, Wolfe has 33 sacks, 77 quarterback hits and 299 tackles. The Super Bowl 50 champion told Denver7 on Saturday that that he feels “like I have plenty of good football left” and that the signing gives him a chance to compete for another NFL title.
“I am coming off one of my best seasons. I was on pace for 10-plus sacks. That’s my goal to get that every year,” Wolfe said.
“It’s going to be weird (not seeing Von Miller and other teammates). And it will be weird being in a different locker room. But I am super stoked.”
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