Matt Judon

AFC East Notes: Robinson, Patriots, Judon

James Robinson was a surprise inactive for the Jets win over the Bears on Sunday. Naturally, the midseason acquisition wasn’t happy to be a healthy scratch.

“Obviously, I didn’t come here not to play,” Robinson told ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “Obviously, they brought me here for a reason. I don’t expect anything unless I work for it, and I’ve been working my ass off. Me not playing pisses me off.”

Robinson was told that he’d be inactive last Wedneday, with the running back stating that he was “upset” with the decision. The 24-year-old was acquired from the Jaguars following the season-ending injury to rookie standout Breece Hall. Robinson had 27 touches for 80 yards and one touchdown in his first three games with the Jets. When asked why he was suddenly replaced in the lineup, Robinson didn’t have an answer.

“I mean, picking up the runs, that’s easy,” he said. “The thing is getting used to the pass game, protections and I feel like I’ve picked up that stuff up pretty good…You probably have to ask them what their game plan is for me. I’d do the same, but obviously I’m going to continue to work my ass off. I can’t go in there begging. They can see what I do on the field.”

Running back Zonovan Knight ended up getting the open roster spot, and the rookie had 103 yards from scrimmage in his NFL debut. The Jets could make Robinson an inactive once again this weekend if Michael Carter is able to play through his ankle injury. If Carter can go, he’d join a RB corps that would also include Knight and Ty Johnson. Coach Robert Saleh has acknowledge that the RB room is “a week-to-week thing.”

More notes out of the AFC East…

  • Before Bill Belichick settled on Matt Patricia and Joe Judge to guide his offense, there were whispers that the Patriots could recruit former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. After serving as Alabama’s OC over the past two years, O’Brien has most recently been linked to Georgia Tech’s head coaching vacancy, although Jeff Schultz of The Athletic recently passed along that the coach could prefer to return to the NFL, particularly as New England’s offensive coordinator. For what it’s worth, Belichick said he hasn’t talked to his former assistant about re-joining the organization. “I haven’t talked to Bill in a little while,” Belichick said during an appearance on WEEI (via Mark Daniels of MassLive.com). “So, I don’t know, I wouldn’t really want to comment on his situation. I think that’s something for him to comment on.”
  • The Patriots opened up a chunk of cap space by restructuring Matt Judon‘s contract today, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The move created more than $2MM in cap space for the organization. Judon, who inked a four-year, $56MM deal with the Patriots in 2021, leads the NFL with 13 sacks this season.
  • The two-year extension that linebacker Jahlani Tavai recently inked with the Patriots is technically a three-year pact considering the bump in 2022 money, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). Tavai got a raise from $1.15MM to $2MM this season, plus $500K in incentives. The linebacker can earn $1.625MM ($1.15MM guaranteed, $1.958MM cap hit) in 2023 and $1.875MM ($2.158MM cap hit) in 2024. The former Lions second-round pick has started seven of his 11 appearances this season, compiling 38 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

AFC Rumors: Jags, Judon, Raiders, Browns

Less than a year into the JaguarsUrban MeyerTrent Baalke partnership, the two power brokers may not be seeing eye to eye. Some tension has surfaced between the new coworkers, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. This is certainly not the first sign of trouble for the Meyer regime in Jacksonville. A host of controversies and/or scrutinized decisions have emerged this year, peaking with the first-year NFL HC’s decision not to fly back to Jacksonville with the team earlier this season, and the Jags are now 2-10. They have seen their offense, led by prized QB prospect Trevor Lawrence, struggle for most of the season. The Jaguars are averaging just 10.6 points per game over their six contests since their bye week, inviting speculation about assistants’ job security. Baalke, the ex-49ers GM whom the Jags named to the same position shortly after tabbing Meyer to lead their latest rebuild, might not be on solid ground either. While Meyer being a one-and-done is far from certain, the former national championship-winning coach’s first season has gone about as badly as possible.

Here is the latest from around the AFC:

  • The Patriots’ Matt Judon deal has become one of the best from this past free agency period, with the ex-Ravens edge rusher having amassed a career-high 12.5 sacks. Deviating from its usual lower-key free agency strategy, New England moved quickly to land Judon on a four-year, $54.5MM accord. Prior to this agreement, Judon gave the Ravens a chance to match it, La Canfora writes. Judon had told teammates he did not want to leave Baltimore, JLC adds, though he had said in February everything would have to line up for him to stay. The Ravens, who have let several edge rushers walk to recoup compensatory picks, opted to retool at the position again. After letting let both Judon and Yannick Ngakoue leave, the Ravens drafted Odafe Oweh in Round 1 and signed Justin Houston on a low-cost deal.
  • Jaguars tight ends coach Tyler Bowen is set to become Virginia Tech’s offensive coordinator, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com reports. Bowen, 32, is in his first season with the Jags. He had previously worked with new Hokies HC Brent Pry at Penn State, being a Nittany Lions assistant from 2018-20.
  • The Raiders figure to have several new staffers next year, with GM Mike Mayock and interim HC Rich Bisaccia far from assured they will be back. But the team will not be parting with Marcel Reece. The former Oakland fullback will be staying on as a senior adviser to Mark Davis, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Reece, who played for the Raiders for nine seasons (2008-16), has been in his current role since 2020. He figures to play a role in the franchise’s coaching search as well.
  • A.J. Cole joined Daniel Carlson in signing extensions to keep the Raiders’ current kicking corps intact long-term. The young punter signed a four-year deal worth $12.4MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Cole, who will receive $5.9MM guaranteed, is now one of the NFL’s five highest-paid punters.
  • Greg Newsome suffered a concussion on the final play of Browns practice Friday, Jeff Schudel of the Lorain Morning Journal tweets. Cleveland’s first-round pick is out for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. The Browns do have an experienced option to elevate into their starting lineup, with Greedy Williams having been a regular starter as a rookie in 2019. Pro Football Focus grades Williams, who has played 45% of Cleveland’s defensive snaps, as a top-20 corner this season.

Contract Details: Patriots, Moseley, Golden, Bills, Hyde

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

  • LB Matt Judon, Patriots: $18MM signing bonus. Salaries: $1MM (2021), $11MM (2022), $11MM (2023), $9.5MM (2024). Up to $1MM in per-game roster bonuses, $500K All-Pro incentive between 2022 and 2024. Via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.
  • TE Jonnu Smith, Patriots: $15MM signing bonus. Salaries: $1MM (2021), $9MM (2022), $10MM (2023), $11MM (2024). Up to $1MM in per-game roster bonuses. Via Yates on Twitter.
  • CB Emmanuel Moseley, 49ers: $500K per-game active roster bonus in 2022. Up to $750K play-time base salary escalator in 2022. Via Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson on Twitter.
  • LB Markus Golden, Cardinals: two years, $5MM, $2.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. Salaries: $1MM (2021, guaranteed), $2MM (2022). Up to $250K in annual per-game roster bonuses, up to $2MM in annual sack incentives. Via Wilson on Twitter.
  • OT Daryl Williams, Bills: $13.75MM guaranteed, $5.4MM signing bonus. Salaries: $1MM (2021), $6.725MM (2022), $5.475MM (2023). $3MM roster bonus in 2021, $1.25MM roster bonus in 2023. Per-game roster bonuses: $250K (2021), $300K (2022-2023). $100K annual workout bonuses. $2.2MM in additional annual incentives. Via Yates on Twitter.
  • RB Carlos Hyde, Jaguars: Two years, $4.5MM. $1.25MM base salary in 2021 is fully guaranteed. $900K signing bonus. Via TheMMQB’s Albert Breer on Twitter.

Patriots To Sign Matt Judon

UPDATE, 2:00pm: It’s official now, Judon is going to be a Patriot. The deal has been finalized, Rapoport tweets. It’s a four-year, $56MM pact with $32MM guaranteed in the first two years, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

1:36pm: The Patriots’ free agent spending spree might only be getting started. New England has already agreed to terms on big deals with tight end Jonnu Smith and defensive tackle Davon Godchaux on Monday, and they have a new big name player firmly in their sights.

The Patriots are making a “major push” to sign Ravens pass-rusher Matt Judon, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. The Pats feel they are “close” to signing Judon, a source told Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Everything we’ve heard recently this offseason has indicated Baltimore would likely be letting Judon walk. The Ravens franchise tagged him last cycle, but it would’ve been prohibitively expensive to do so a second time and they never worked out a long-term deal.

A fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State in 2016, Judon broke out in 2017 and has kept improving. He’s been a Pro Bowler in each of the past two seasons, with six sacks in 14 games in 2020 and 9.5 sacks the year before.

With Godchaux and now potentially Judon in the fold, the Patriots’ defensive front will be a lot more imposing in 2021. The Pats had only 24 sacks as a team in 2020, the sixth-fewest in the league.

Ravens To Let Judon, Ngakoue Walk?

After featuring two franchise-tagged edge defenders last season, the Ravens’ pass rush may be in for considerable change in 2021. A sizable chunk of their outside linebacker contributors from 2020 are free agents, and the top two may be set for free agency for the first time.

The Ravens retained Matt Judon via the franchise tag last year and traded for Yannick Ngakoue, who received the tag from the Jaguars before being shipped to the Vikings. Baltimore may let both free agents go, with Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com noting the team is expected to part ways with Ngakoue and will not re-sign Judon.

This would be quite the shakeup for the Ravens, but sticking to a price point with edge rushers is not out of character for the team. Baltimore let Paul Kruger, Pernell McPhee and Za’Darius Smith walk in recent years and said goodbye to Terrell Suggs in 2019 as well. The team also did not match the Jets’ market-resetting offer for off-ball ‘backer C.J. Mosley two years ago.

It would cost the Ravens just more than $20MM to franchise Judon for a second time. Judon said earlier this year a Ravens return would need to line up perfectly, and the longtime Baltimore contributor looks set to be a first-time free agent. It will come at a key point, with the ex-Division II standout set to turn 29 this year. Judon has been a key Ravens rusher over the past four seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in each of the past two. Although the former fifth-round pick does not have a 10-sack season on his resume, he posted 33 QB hits in 2019.

Ngakoue moving on would be less surprising. He recorded three regular-season sacks as a Raven but played sparingly in the team’s two playoff games. This will be the former third-round pick’s first go-round in free agency. The former Jaguars standout will only turn 26 this year.

McPhee has since returned to the Ravens, agreeing to two one-year pacts after each of the past two drafts. The 10-year veteran would like to stay in Baltimore, and Hensley views that scenario as realistic. Tyus Bowser may also be in play to return on a low-cost deal. Derek Wolfe is also a free agent, but the longtime Broncos defensive lineman also wants to re-sign with the Ravens. The team would like the 30-year-old defender back as well, Hensley adds. Still, Judon and Ngakoue departing would create a major need for the team going into free agency.

AFC North Notes: Judon, Bengals, Steelers

After being franchise-tagged last year, Matt Judon appears closer to hitting the market for the first time. The free agent-to-be has said a return to the Ravens would require circumstances to align perfectly, providing a clear indication a hometown discount will not be in the cards. Judon, though, is not ruling out a Ravens return. If the veteran edge rusher is to leave Baltimore, however, he may not be willing to sign with one of the league’s rebuilding teams. Judon said he wants to land with a winning team, per veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The 29-year-old defender joins teammate Yannick Ngakoue, who did not see full-time action for the Ravens in the playoffs, and Shaquil Barrett and Bud Dupree as edge rushers eager to cash in after being tagged last year.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Carl Lawson is on the precipice of free agency for the first time, separating him from a few of this year’s UFA edge rushers. But the Bengals may not be willing to let him go. The Bengals are prepared to use their franchise tag on Lawson, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. While some believe the team would rather tag cornerback William Jackson, more buzz has emerged about the team keeping the four-year defensive end cog. Although Lawson only tallied 5.5 sacks last season, his 32 quarterback hits ranked second in the NFL.
  • With the cap-strapped Steelers unlikely to tag anyone this year, they would need to extend Dupree before March 17 to keep him off the market. GM Kevin Colbert did not indicate Dupree would be prioritized. “We have to adjust and know that he might be a possibility, he might not be,” Colbert said, via SI.com. “We’re never going to eliminate a great player like Bud Dupree, because we don’t know what Bud’s market is, and Bud doesn’t know what his market is at this point.” The legal tampering period begins March 15. It is possible the 2021 salary cap number will not emerge until shortly before that date, complicating matters for teams hoping to extend big-ticket free agents.
  • Despite Zach Banner suffering a torn ACL in Week 1, Mike Tomlin informed the offensive tackle he had a path to regain a starting job in 2021. “Coach T looked at me and said, ‘You are my answer for 2021, so I need you to focus on your knee, don’t worry about anything else,’” Banner said, via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (subscription required). “That was the best thing that I could’ve heard.” Banner, Pittsburgh’s Week 1 right tackle starter, re-signed with the Steelers on a one-year, $1.75MM deal. A similar contract may be in the cards for the four-year veteran. The Steelers may be leaning toward letting Villanueva, their six-year left tackle starter, walk in free agency. One season remains on right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor‘s rookie contract.

Matt Judon: Ravens Return Would Have To Line Up Perfectly

For the second straight year, Matt Judon is set to be a free agent. The Ravens kept the standout edge rusher off the market last year by franchise-tagging him, but his tag price will go up this year and do so as the salary cap plummets. That will create issues for most teams considering a tag.

Judon, 28, was adamant last year he preferred to stay in Baltimore. When asked Tuesday about his hopes of returning to the Ravens, the five-year veteran was more open to exploring a path elsewhere.

I’d love to be back in Baltimore. I haven’t been nowhere else, so I’d love to be back in Baltimore,” Judon said during an interview with Adam Schein of CBS Sports (video link). “Just, it’s gotta line up. It’s gotta be perfect, and we’ve gotta make it work.

If I’m in Baltimore I won’t be sad. Trust me, I love it here. But if not, I’ll still love the city and it’ll be, I think, exciting and fun to play for a new organization and figure out what other teams are like out there.”

The Ravens have both Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, whom the Jaguars tagged before sending him to the Vikings (who then dealt him to Baltimore), set to be free agents. While the Ravens have let a few higher-end pass rushers walk in recent years, they do not have much under contract at outside linebacker. Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser are free agents-to-be as well.

Judon has been connected to wanting a deal that pays north of $20MM annually. With his franchise tag set to come in slightly north of $20MM, that number makes sense. However, the cap is expected to decline from $198MM to around $180MM. That will make using tags far more difficult. Judon joins fellow 2020 tag recipients Ngakoue, Shaquil Barrett and Bud Dupree as edge rushers set to hit the market. That list also includes Leonard Floyd, Carl Lawson, Trey Hendrickson and Haason Reddick.

A former fifth-round pick, Judon has made back-to-back Pro Bowls. His sack and quarterback hit numbers dropped in 2020, finishing at six and 21, respectively, after he set career-high marks in 2019 (9.5, 33). Judon, however, missed two games after contracting COVID-19. Should the Ravens allow Judon to hit the market, he will have plenty of suitors.