Nearly half the league used the franchise tag to keep players off the market this offseason. Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon was among the players tagged, but does not appear to be embroiled in a contentious negotiation with his team. While the tag often causes conflict, with teams restricting players from hitting the market, Judon is not sweating the designation.
“I’m pleased to be tagged,” Judon said, via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required). “I feel like only a few players get to go through this in their lifetime. As much as I want stability in the future, I’m proud of where I’m at and where I came from. … I’m pleased with how my career has been going.”
The 27-year-old defender signed his franchise tender late last month. Unless Judon files a grievance to be tagged as a defensive end, he is set to earn $15.8MM on the tag. The former fifth-round pick may well have commanded more on the market, but Judon seems content with his situation.
The Ravens have gone through some changes at linebacker over the last two years. They let edge defenders Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith walk in free agency last year, when they also did not match the Jets’ offer for C.J. Mosley. This year, Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes left Baltimore via free agency. Judon represents the constant, and the Ravens — once linked to tag-and-trade scenarios involving Judon — are not expected to deal their top edge rusher.
Judon has racked up 24.5 sacks since moving into a starting role in 2017. His 33 QB hits last season ranked fourth and were a Ravens-most since the NFL began tracking this stat in 2006. GM Eric DeCosta confirmed extension talks have begun, but details are scarce about how they’re unfolding thus far. Judon joins Ronnie Stanley and Marlon Humphrey as big-ticket Ravens extension candidates — a group Lamar Jackson will headline when he becomes eligible for an extension next year.
“We’ve got 30 more days to work out a long-term contract. We’re just going to see how it goes from there,” Judon said. “I can’t speak for the organization, but as far as me, I’m happy to be a Raven. I’ve got my (Ravens) shorts on right now. I want to stay here for as long as I play, but I understand that it’s a business.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.