Pass rushers will be wanting money this offseason and Matt Judon is no exception when it comes to hitting the free agent market.
The one thing about playing on the franchise tag is that you hope their production is good, but no too good to where they’ll ask for the top dollar next season. For the Baltimore Ravens, outside linebacker Matt Judon is a perfect example.
The former Grand Valley State star broke free in 2019 with the departure of Z’Darius Smith. Finishing the year with a career-high 9.5 sacks, Baltimore placed the tag on him to keep the playoff run alive in 2020.
The numbers overall diminished. Judon tallied a mere six sacks to go with 51 tackles and failed to force a fumble. His Pro Football Focus score dropped from 70.5 to a 59.4 as well.
But hey, he’s a pass rusher. They’re going to get paid.
Judon is looking for a contract worth roughly $16.5 million per season according to reports. That number either means he’ll be looking for a one-year deal or could be eventually taking less to play for multiple years. Either way, all five of these rosters need an upgrade off the edge.
Where could Matt Judon land in 2021?
An 8-8 season would be promising in Arizona if they weren’t sitting 6-3 with only seven weeks left in the year. Now, Kliff Kingsbury has to buckle up his big boy trouser to prove he’s the right man for the job in the desert.
Arizona’s overall pass rush is fine. Chandler Jones is a stud and Markus Golden made a name for himself prior to leaving in free agency. Traded back last season, he finished with 4.5 sacks on the year.
Golden is a free agent this offseason and could be ring chasing at 29. Should that be the case, Judon would be an excellent replacement and perhaps an overall upgrade. Imagine pairing Jones, Judon and Isaiah Simmons in a three-man blitzing package? That’s terrifying for quarterbacks behind bad offensive lines.
The Cardinals enter March with a little over $11 million in cap space. They might be able to only make one signing this offseason, but the addition of pass rushers will immediately help factor towards a defense’s success.