Ravens’ Matt Judon Seeking $20MM/Year?

The 2020 Ravens became the unusual team to roster two franchise-tagged pass rushers, in tagging Matt Judon and trading for Yannick Ngakoue. A year after both edge defenders’ rookie deals expired, each is again on the verge of free agency.

Baltimore attempted to extend Judon last year and will likely do so again, given its dearth of pass rushers signed long-term. But the five-year veteran has aimed for a $20MM-per-year deal, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes. The Ravens are projected to be under even a $176MM cap — which may not be the new salary ceiling, with recent reports indicating the upcoming cap freefall will not be as dire as initially feared — but they have a Lamar Jackson extension to discuss and are interested in extending Mark Andrews. The latter will be in a contract year soon.

Although Judon made the Pro Bowl this season, he finished with six sacks and 21 QB hits — down from 9.5 and 33, respectively, in 2019. That said, Ngakoue registered just three sacks and three QB hits in nine Ravens games and played only 20 defensive snaps in the team’s divisional-round loss. Judon does not have a 10-sack season on his resume, however, and could well be heading into free agency at a bad time.

There are currently five edge players earning $20MM-AAV deals. Judon has no chance of venturing into Joey BosaMyles Garrett territory (north of $25MM per year), and even a deal in the Frank ClarkDeMarcus Lawrence $21MM-AAV neighborhood might be a stretch considering the circumstances. Teams opted to tag some of the top rushers on the 2020 market, so Judon will join Shaquil Barrett and Bud Dupree again soon.

With a 2021 franchise tag costing 120% of Judon’s $16.8MM salary, the Ravens are unlikely to go there — especially with a cap reduction expected. But the team again has next to nothing at this position long-term, with Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee due for free agency as well, and Judon expressed interest last summer in staying with the Ravens. Although the Ravens have let a few pass rushers land big-ticket deals elsewhere in recent years, they will need an edge plan soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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9 comments on “Ravens’ Matt Judon Seeking $20MM/Year?

    • seth3120

      Clowney is older, less productive, and injury prone though. If he doesn’t get 20m I’d bet it’s pretty darn close. He’s a FA it’s going to drive the price up there are plenty of teams in need of pass rushers

      • Ak185

        Well, Clowney isn’t older.

        Judon (whom my phone will forever think is “Judson”) has notched 2 more sacks than Clowney for his career, and both have career highs of 9.5. Clowney has of course missed more games with higher injury concerns. I’d wager that Clowney is more versatile, and also less consistent. In any case, I really do not see the market for either being extremely different when healthy. I can’t really see either ending up with 20 million this year.

        Judon’s only real advantage in regards to Clowney is health-and it’s significant, but it’s more significant in dropping Clowney’s rate than it is in raising Judon’s. Judon is a good player, and is great in a locker room-however, he is also a 29 year old without a double digit sack season about to enter into a depressed market. While he may be the best free agent option at EDGE this year, I just don’t see 20 million.

  1. Ak185

    He’s very good, but Judon is not bagging that kind of money in this offseason. It would be a difficult case in any offseason to make, despite his talent and work ethic. Judson does more than sack the passer, but for $20 million you do need more than 10 sacks, or at least that number. It’s likely that he is asking for this after playing on the franchise tag for a year and not making any noise or public distraction about, which Judson does deserve credit for. My guess is that he’ll settle for less if Baltimore acknowledges the way that he handled his being tagged this year.

  2. rondon

    Boy did this guy pick a bad year to make a big demand. If the cap is lowered, the cap space in this league is gonna shrink like your privates in an arctic winter.

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