With a glaring hole on the edge of their defense and interior standouts Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson each set to hit free agency, the New York Giants are bound to be in the market for some front-seven reinforcement.
The good news for the G-Men? The 2021 free-agent market is littered with more than a few serviceable edge presences. Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, 2019 sack-leader Shaq Barrett and former pro bowler Yannick Ngakoue are just a few names that quickly come to mind. However, it’s Ngakoue’s Baltimore Ravens teammate, Matt Judon, who Fansided’s Rucker Haringey believes is destined to find his way to East Rutherford.
Nabbing Matt Judon away from the Ravens would give Joe Judge’s defense a much-needed jolt.
Baltimore needs to pay a lot of guys on their current roster and Judon just doesn’t seem like a big priority. Buying him off with a one-year, $16.8 million deal for this season sent a clear indication that the player’s future lies elsewhere.
The Giants will be more than happy to pay above the market rate to lock Judon down on a three-year deal.
While Ngakoue may have more name recognition across NFL fanbases, it’s Judon who has proven to be the more prolific of the two as of late. A former fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State, Judon has been uber-productive in recent years, notching his second consecutive Pro Bowl nod in 2020. The 29-year-old has accumulated 30.5 sacks since 2017. He’s also proven to be an adequate run defender, averaging 52.5 tackles over that same span.
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Will Judon Price Himself Out of New York’s Plans?
Judon being linked to the Giants is nothing new, as The Draft Network pegged New York as an “ideal fit” for the Ravens defender as far back as last offseason. Also, Yahoo Sports’ Scott Thompson recently identified Judon as an impending free agent that the team should be “watching closely.”
Our only drawback when it comes to a potential Judon-Giants marriage is pricepoint. Haringey notes that “The Giants will be more than happy to pay above the market rate” for the Ravens standout. Thing is, that may prove far too costly, especially for a team somewhat strapped for cash at the moment (estimated 2021 cap space of $7,926,396 – per Spotrac).
According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Judon is reportedly in pursuit of a contract worth $20 million per season.
While Judon has been productive, has he actually been $20 million per year productive? There are currently five edge rushers in the NFL earning said price tag (Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, Khalil Mack, Frank Clark and Demarcus Lawrence), via Baltimore Beatdown. Each of these players has had a minimum of two seasons with double-digit sacks. Judon, on the other hand, has zero.
Of course, if New York identifies Judon as a priority add, they will make it work, moving around money to fit him in under the cap. However, the return on such an investment may prove far too costly as it pertains to the Louisiana native.
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The Ravens Want Judon to Return But are Realistic
As Haringey alluded to above, the Ravens have a handful of financial decisions to make come spring, no more so than on the edge of their defense. Judon and Ngakoue are both set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason. However, they are not alone. Fellow outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee are also set to hit free agency.
Judon played this past season under the franchise tag (one-year, $16.8 million deal) and will be looking to earn a contract that better parallels his constant on-field production. While Baltimore would like him back, they are aware Judon may have priced himself out of their future plans.
“I want Matt Judon back, yes,” head coach John Harbaugh said late last month. “Whether that will be possible … Again, it’s such an unpredictable year with the salary cap. What is anybody going to get paid? And who has cap money? Three teams have, really, any significant amount of cap money. So, we’ll have to see about that.”
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