Patriots Star Already Recruiting $98 Million Ravens Ex-Teammate

Matthew Judon would like to see Marlon Humphrey (left) as a target of Patriots free agency.

Getty Matthew Judon would like to see Marlon Humphrey as a target of Patriots free agency.

Cornerback is not a tremendous area of need for Patriots free agency heading into the 2024 offseason, assuming Christian Gonzalez comes back healthy from his ACL tear, Jonathan Jones starts opposite him and nickel corner Myles Bryant, a free agent, returns on a new contract. Still, the depth of the unit could be an issue, and with that mind, perhaps, star linebacker Matthew Judon has an idea—if the Ravens release three-time Pro Bowl corner Marlon Humphrey to save on salary, the Patriots should step in and sign him up.

Responding to a post on Twitter/X suggesting that the Ravens could cut Humphrey, Judon noted that the Patriots could even give Humphrey the No. 44 he has worn for the past five seasons (he wore 29 in his first two years with Baltimore).

“I like this move I think the patriots 44 is open,” Judon noted.

Humphrey Signed Massive New Ravens Contract in 2020

Of course, before the Patriots can land Humphrey, the Ravens would have to decide to wriggle out of the last three years of the five-year, $97.5 million contract extension that Humphrey signed with the team in 2020. Humphrey missed seven games this season with injuries to his foot, hamstring and calf, with the last injury keeping him out of the Ravens’ first playoff game against Houston.

Baltimore has an out in the contract and could let Humphrey walk as a post-June 1 cut, saving $11.8 million, as speculated by USA Today’s Ravens Wire site. It is a longshot, but that was the notion to which Judon was responding.

As Ravens Wire noted: “Still only 27 years old, Humphrey signed a 5-year contract extension with the Ravens in 2020 worth $97.5 million in new money with $40.3 million in full guarantees at signing. Humphrey has an additional $30 million in vesting and roster bonus guarantees through the contract, bringing the total guarantee to $70.3 million.

“The Ravens converted $9.42 million of salary to a bonus in 2023, creating $7.536 million in cap room. Humphrey’s cap number from 2024 to 2026 increased by $1.884 million annually. There is now an additional void year in 2027.”

Humphrey, a first-round pick in 2017, would certainly have plenty of suitors if he hit free agency, including contenders that would give him a better shot at playing in the Super Bowl. He is a three-time Pro Bowl player who has 13 career interceptions and, incredibly, forced a league-high eight fumbles in 2020. But he did play his first four seasons in the NFL with Judon in Baltimore, and Judon is already using that to recruit Humphrey.

Long Checklist Ahead for Patriots Free Agency

The Patriots will enter free agency with ample cap space to use up, around $70 million total, but also with plenty of holes and some potential returning players to secure. The team needs help all along the offensive line, and that probably starts with bringing back tackle Michael Onewu (projected to make $14.5 million per year at Pro Football Focus) and perhaps his bookend partner, Trent Brown ($7.5 million per year).

Quarterback, obviously, is the biggest need for New England, but the Patriots need to add a top-tier wide receiver—that could cost around $20 million per year—and will have to pay star tight end Hunter Henry if they want to keep him as he enters free agency ($7.5 million per year projected at Spotrac).

In other words, yes, the Patriots have cap space and Humphrey would be a nice addition, but that space figures to be chewed up rather quickly because there are so many needs on hand.

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