After watching their top outside linebackers sign more lucrative deals elsewhere, the Baltimore Ravens made retaining Tyus Bowser a top priority when the new league year began. Not only was General Manager Eric DeCosta and Co. able to re-sign him, but they got him at a tremendous value with a four-year deal worth up to $27 million.
With both Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue no longer in the picture, Bowser will be expected to assume a larger role on and off the field. He is ready to bring more vocal leadership to a young position group after letting his play do the majority of the talking prior to this offseason.
“One of my main focuses this offseason, especially this year, is just being more of a vocal leader,” said Bowser. “I’ve always been a guy to go out there and put my play on the field and to just be a leader like that. So, just being a veteran coming into that new role, especially with a lot of young guys and upcoming guys.”
The Ravens selected a pair of outside linebackers in this year’s draft, and he likes what he has seen from first-rounder Odafe Oweh from a strength, motor, and intensity standpoint. However, Bowser sees a lot of himself in fifth-rounder Daelin Hayes who will likely be backing him up at the SAM spot.
“Daelin kind of gives me an impression of me when I was coming into the league,” said Bowser. “Just [with] how mobile he is, how well he can move, how well he can get the defense down.”
In addition to being a vocal leader, he wants to teach the younger guys the tricks of the trade and learn the playbook. He knows that the team is going to need to rely on them so they’ll need to be in the right position to help the defense dominate.
“What we have here, it’s going to be great, and I’m excited to be a part of it and help these guys grow as players. I’m definitely looking forward to both of them and seeing what they can do to help us out this year.”
He isn’t the only veteran leader in the outside linebacker room with Pernell McPhee being at the top according to Bowser. But with the 10-year veteran currently not in attendance at OTAs as tends to his sick grandmother, Bowser is the one the youngster will look to during his absence.
“He’s a quiet, cool-demeanor guy, but he’s really a strong leader,” said Outside Linebackers Coach Drew Wilkins. “He’s got strong leadership, communication traits with the rest of the guys.”
While he was awarded a new contract this offseason, Bowser’s mindset of having to prove himself and earn playing time has remained the same. He knows the two rookies and third-year pro Jaylon Ferguson will be vying for playing time and want to get on the field as often as they can.
“I’ve always had that mindset of going out there and proving myself each and every day. Besides the contract, that’s great, I’m thankful for it and I’m glad to be here. But that doesn’t mean to relax.”
The best veteran leaders don’t take their foot off the gas once they get paid, they get even more motivated to justify and reward the faith that their team put in them with a significant financial investment.
“That’s the mindset that I’m going to have too – is to go out there and work hard regardless of if I’m still on a rookie contract or making millions of dollars,” said Bowser. “I’m going to come with the same mindset to go out there and work hard each and every day.”