Judon leaving Ravens to sign $56 million deal with New England

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One of the best late-round draft picks in Ravens history has found a new football home as outside linebacker Matthew Judon is off to New England.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection will sign a four-year, $56 million deal with $32 million guaranteed, according to multiple outlets. Judon confirmed via his verified Instagram account that he’d be joining the Patriots, but the deal won’t become official until after the start of the signing period at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The 28-year-old will become the first Raven to play on the franchise tag and not get a long-term deal with Baltimore since offensive lineman Wally Williams, who was tagged in 1998 and signed with New Orleans the following year.

Judon’s exit was anticipated since there hadn’t been much momentum for a long-term agreement after the Ravens used the $16.808 million franchise tag on him last March. However, replacing the 2016 fifth-round pick from Grand Valley State won’t be easy with the 6-foot-3, 261-pound Judon having led the Ravens in sacks and all Baltimore outside linebackers in snaps each of the last two seasons. Though critics have pointed to his pass-rush productivity being a product of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s blitz-heavy schemes, Judon has been Baltimore’s most versatile outside linebacker for several years with his ability to drop into coverage and set the edge in addition to collecting 34 1/2 sacks over five seasons.

Pro Football Focus graded Judon 53rd among 109 qualified edge defenders last season and has ranked him no higher than 43rd in any season. He has ranked in the top 20 at the position in both total pressures and sacks since 2018, but more than half of his pressures were charted by PFF as unblocked or cleanup situations.

With Judon off the board and the Ravens having agreed to re-sign Pernell McPhee last week, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser, and Jihad Ward are Baltimore’s remaining unrestricted free agents at outside linebacker.

In other Ravens-related news, inside linebacker Chris Board is re-signing on a one-year deal worth just over $1.6 million guaranteed and up to $2.683 million with incentives, according to NFL Network. A former undrafted rookie from North Dakota State, Board was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, but the low tender of $2.133 million was deemed too pricey for the special-teams standout and situational defensive player.