The Baltimore Ravens are going to see tons of change on defense in the coming weeks, and a huge shoe has reportedly already dropped as it relates to that.
Outside linebacker Matt Judon has reportedly agreed to a massive deal to join the New England Patriots in free agency. Judon was a productive player for the Ravens, but has elected to leave the team after a few seasons of impasses in contract negotiations.
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The news of the agreement was first broken by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to early reports, the deal is a whopper, and a reported four-year, $56 million dollar pact between the parties.
And the spending spree in Foxboro continues: Former Ravens’ LB Matt Judon reached agreement on a four-year, $56 million deal, including $32 million guaranteed with the New England Patriots, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2021
Judon’s departure might only be just the beginning for the Ravens, who also have Yannick Ngakoue set to hit the open market as well. It’s hard to believe the Ravens will want to retain both, so that could be the next name the team is set to lose up front in the coming days.
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 34.5 sacks in barely a handful of years played. Judon also has 237 tackles to his credit as well as 7 forced fumbles, and has become a force up front for a Baltimore defense that needed him to pressure the pocket. Since the departure of Za’Darius Smith, Judon has only become more important for the Baltimore front. In 2020, Judon cracked his second straight Pro Bowl after also making the game in 2019.
During his time in the league, Judon has always felt more than a bit overlooked, but all of that will change now given his new contract and stature in New England.
Ravens Defense Could See Significant Defensive Changes
The Ravens had a solid season under Don ‘Wink’ Martindale on defense, finishing as a top 10 unit and also finishing with a solid 39 sacks on the year. That was due in great part to the work of several free agents, including Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee. McPhee returned, but odds are all of those players will not come back, especially with Baltimore’s limited funds. It’s more than possible the defense is going to take the hit in a major way given the number of players that could leave, so prioritizing who to bring back will be key, as will be drafting the right pieces this coming season.
Letting the majority of these free agent defenders walk while drafting a younger crop may be the way the Ravens look to go about solving their problems this offseason. That’s especially true given the team seems to need a bit more help on the offensive side of the ball to give their squad the needed boost.
Seeing Judon leave could only be the beginning of the changes, and his departure will be tough for several to swallow both because of the player he is and the location he will reportedly be heading to.