Ravens Expected to Franchise Tag Key Pass Rusher: Report

Matt Judon

Getty Matt Judon celebrates with fans.

The Baltimore Ravens could be closer to a decision on one of their most important players for the 2020 NFL season.

According to a report from ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, the Ravens could be expected to use the franchise tag on defensive end Matt Judon. This offseason, Judon has been the subject of rumors, but it appears that the Ravens understand that they want to bring him back.

Judon, even if he gets the tag in the coming weeks, could still eventually be traded if the Ravens don’t want to keep him around long term on an expensive contract. The decision will have to come in before March 12, which is the new deadline that the league has established according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The decisions can start rolling in on February 27.

Analysts Think Matt Judon Should Stay

Few folks see keeping Judon as a real option at this point in time, but it’s possible that could be the best course of action for the Ravens when all is said and done to keep around a talented player. Recently, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com explained some decisions that should be made with regards to the franchise tag.

As Rosenthal said, he believes the team should say yes to a tag of Judon. Here’s the reasoning he believes that to be the case:

“GM Eric DeCosta has said that he’s tired of losing quality homegrown players. Even if Judon stays, the Ravens have a pass rush need. That makes retaining him a relatively easy choice.”

Easy choice indeed, but there are questions about what the Ravens’ next move will be, considering rumors have swirled much of the early part of the offseason already.

If Judon stays, there would be little doubt that he would help Baltimore’s needy defense in 2020 with regards to the pass rush.

Ravens Could Trade Matt Judon

Judon, who’s a home grown talent for Baltimore, has a contract deadline he’s facing with the team. The Ravens, after watching some of the deals play out with other pass rushers on the market, could jump at the chance to get some draft picks or assets for Judon this offseason.

Recently, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that the Ravens could look to move on from Judon, and Schefter explained that the defensive end could be franchise tagged, then traded. Here’s a look at what he wrote on the case:

“Ravens defensive end Matthew Judon is a candidate for Baltimore’s franchise tag and trade inquiries from other teams, league sources tell ESPN, potentially continuing the recent trend of offseason trades featuring high-profile pass rushers.

Other teams have noticed the impacts that Dee Ford and Frank Clark have had in San Francisco and Kansas City, respectively, and a contending team could try to pry Judon loose from the Ravens.

Judon is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, and the Ravens would like to bring him back, but they also are likely to listen if another team expresses interest in trading for him, according to sources.”

Plenty of teams could be looking to fill a void at pass rusher this offseason, and players who can pressure the quarterback well are always in high demand. The Ravens decision with Judon will be telling, as he is a key young player for their defense.

Matt Judon Career Stats

Since coming into the league in 2016 as a fifth round pick out of Grand Valley State in Michigan, Judon has turned himself into a solid player, racking up 28.5 sacks in barely a handful of years played. Judon also has 185 tackles to his credit as well as 7 forced fumbles, and has become a force up front for a Baltimore defense that needs him to pressure the pocket. Since the departure of Za’Darius Smith, Judon has only become more important for the Baltimore front.

If the Ravens move on from Judon, obviously, they will have to target some pass rush help in the draft this offseason. Baltimore’s needs lie more on the defensive side anyway, but this would be another fact which would tip the scales in that direction.

It sounds as if the team wants to at least tag Judon when the time comes soon.

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