The Baltimore Ravens franchise tagged Matt Judon a few months back, and finally, an agreement has been reached on what his contract will be this coming season.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Judon and the Ravens have reached a compromise on a $16.808 million dollar deal for the 2020 season. That puts his contract right in the middle of the linebacker and defensive end market.
Often times, franchise tag agreements can be rough, but it’s clear the Ravens and Judon have balanced it out and found something that works for them. The only question now is whether Judon is able to stay long term or if the team is using the deal as a placeholder until they either reach a long term contract or a trade.
Matt Judon Named Ravens Under-Appreciated Player
For the Ravens, it’s interesting that one of their biggest defensive stars gets this treatment. Recently, Cynthia Frelund at NFL.com took a look at naming the most under appreciated players on every roster in the AFC. As she noted, Matt Judon is the most underrated player on the team’s roster.
Here’s the explanation of why:
“Judon’s value goes beyond his raw totals in pressures (though his 33 QB hits did rank fourth in the NFL in 2019) and sacks (9.5). His play must be contextualized based on what he is asked to do. First of all, you must focus on his production as a true outside linebacker (where more than 80 percent of his snaps take place), especially now that Calais Campbell is on the team. Secondly, you have to use data to help understand the strategy of when his key pressures occurred. Five of Judon’s sacks came on third down. With the way the Ravens worked last season — specifically, the uniqueness of their offense — the value Judon brought, especially after the loss of Za’Darius Smith, shored up a key spot in the front. With Campbell up front this season, look for Baltimore’s overall sacks and pressures to increase.”
The Ravens managed to bring Judon into the mix and groom him up to the point where he is casually thought of as one of the best rushers in the game. That’s quite an accomplishment for the player. This offseason, the Ravens franchise tagged Judon so it will be interesting to see if they can work out a long term deal eventually or if Judon ends up playing for another team.
Analysts Think Matt Judon Should Stay With Ravens
Few folks see keeping Judon long term 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 and one the Ravens eventually made, 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. Does he stay long term?
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 even as it pushes on, 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.
As Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted in the aftermath, it will be interesting to see if the Ravens decide to move on now.
The fun might only have just begun.
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.
Now that the numbers are known, he figures to go into the season well compensated for his work.