Patriots making major push to sign Ravens free-agent pass rusher Matthew Judon

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Matthew Stevens
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The NFL’s legal tampering period has just begun and the top free-agent pass rushers have already agreed to terms. Soon enough, that could include Baltimore Ravens free agent outside linebacker Matthew Judon. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the New England Patriots are making a major push to sign Judon.

This could be a big blow to Baltimore’s offseason plans. The Ravens enter free agency with three EDGE defenders hitting the open market as Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and Tyus Bowser are all unrestricted free agents. If Judon agrees to terms early, that would put far more pressure on Baltimore to find his replacement. And with pass rushers coming off the market in a hurry, the Ravens would have to work fast.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated he wanted Judon back for 2021, giving him pretty glowing praise.

“[Judon is an] all-around player, plays super hard, very good leader, awesome competitor,” Harbaugh said in January. “He does everything well. He rushes, he plays the run, he drops, he plays special teams. He’s an all-around, excellent, excellent football player. So, nothing but applause for Matt Judon and what he’s done”

While fans might not have been as big on Judon, there’s no denying he’s been a massive boon for the Ravens. As a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Judon has far exceeded expectations and turned into one of the best all-around EDGE defenders. As Harbaugh noted, he’s able to set the edge, drops back into coverage, and plays all over the field in defensive coordinator Don Martindale’s aggressive scheme.

One of the biggest hurdles this offseason has been determining player value. With the salary cap getting reduced by more than $16 million from last season, several teams are currently underwater. That’s led to tons of top talent hitting free agency with little money available to sign deals. While Judon’s exact value is a little unclear still, Rapoport noted it could be around $13 million a year on average.

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