Extension Candidate: Matt Judon

Matt Judon is set to enter the final season of the four-year, $56MM contract he signed with the Patriots back in 2021. The four-time Pro Bowler has undoubtedly lived up to his contract in New England (at least through the first two seasons), but there have been conflicting reports surrounding the progress of extension talks. That’s led some pundits to wonder if 2024 could end up being Judon’s final season with the organization.

Judon himself provided a discouraging update last week. The veteran posted on X that he doesn’t think an extension is “about to happen” (per Dakota Randall of ProFootballNetwork.com). Further, Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard said that “there are a couple of big contract issues” that may stem from the front office’s decision to hand Christian Barmore a new $92MM deal, with Bedard seemingly pointing the finger at Judon (via Randall).

On the flip side, Mike Jurecki of Arizona Football Daily recently hinted that Judon could sign the league’s “next big contract.” The four-time Pro Bowler has also continued to express interest in continuing his career in New England, and the 31-year-old has been an active free agent recruiter on social media.

In other words, it doesn’t seem like anyone has any idea how this will play out. At the very least, Judon doesn’t intend to make his contract status a distraction. Last year, the player staged a hold-in before coming to a temporary resolution with the Patriots, but the player has since admitted that his negotiation tactic was “trash.” With the impending free agent hinting that he won’t follow a similar path this year, the Patriots could simply let Judon play out his contract before revisiting a long-term deal next offseason.

Of course, this could be the perfect time for the organization to pounce. After compiling 28 sacks through his first two seasons with the Patriots, Judon was limited to four sacks in four games before suffering a season-ending bicep injury in 2023. With the 2024 campaign representing Judon’s age-32 season, the Patriots could cite the player’s age and recent injury as a reason for a discounted extension. Plus, while Judon is only set to earn $7.5MM in 2024, he’s connected to a $14.6MM cap charge, so any extension could help the organization reduce that number for the upcoming season.

Beyond the simple decision to extend Judon, the two sides would obviously have to settle on a value. Judon would probably be hard pressed to garner a $22MM average annual value, a mark that would push him into the top-10 among pass rushers. Von Miller got a $20MM AAV from the Bills ahead of his age-33 season, but Judon is still unlikely to generate that type of money and term (six years). DeMarcus Lawrence‘s three-year, $40MM deal with the Cowboys or Cameron Jordan‘s two-year, $27.5MM deal with the Saints may be better benchmarks. Considering the Patriots are armed with plenty of future cap space, this shouldn’t be a prohibitive move for the front office.

There would probably be plenty of teams willing to give Judon at least $13MM per year, and those hypothetical suitors would probably give the player a better chance at winning. The projected franchise tag for Judon is likely untenable (between $24MM and $25MM, per OverTheCap.com), so the Patriots could risk the player walking for nothing if they can’t agree to an extension now.

As the team’s defensive and emotional leader, the Patriots can’t afford to move on from Judon in 2024. It remains to be seen if the organization is willing to pay up to keep him on the roster for 2025 and beyond.

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