The torn bicep which forced Matt Judon to exit New England’s Week 4 loss will lead to surgery and an extended absence. The team’s top edge rusher will undergo surgery on Wednesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
As Schefter notes, Judon’s intention is to return at some point this season. For the time being, though, he will be out indefinitely. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network adds that the 31-year-old will be sidelined for at least the next two months, an absence which be acutely felt along New England’s defensive front.
Judon has earned a Pro Bowl nod in each of the past four years, making his transition from the Ravens to the Patriots a smooth one. The former fifth-rounder racked up 28 sacks in his first two years in New England, giving him leverage in asking for a raise in term of 2023 compensation. His restructured pact upped his earnings for this season, giving him $14MM in guaranteed money. With 2024 still the final year of his contract, however, there was an expectation another strong campaign would lead to a new round of extension talks.
In the early going, Judon was well on his way to another productive season with a team-leading four sacks. He added 11 pressures and five tackles for loss in his three-plus games, putting him on track to secure either another lucrative restructure or a new multi-year pact in the offseason. In the wake of this injury, however, Judon’s bargaining position will no doubt be negatively affected.
The Patriots have registered six sacks so far from players other than Judon, so missing the latter for an extended stretch will put considerable strain on their edge rush group. Former second-rounder Josh Uche, who is in a contract year and posted 11.5 sacks last season, will be counted on to repeat his 2022 performance without Judon in the fold. New England currently has just over $4.2MM in cap space, meaning the team could afford a low-cost addition amongst the league’s remaining unsigned edge rushers. No member of that group would be able to replicate Judon’s impact, however, as the Patriots look to rebound from Sunday’s lopsided defeat.