Baltimore Ravens Place Franchise Tag on Matthew Judon

Outside linebacker Matthew Judon won’t hit the market as a free agent when free agency begins next week. The Baltimore Ravens placed the franchise tag on Judon on Friday.

Putting the franchise tag on Judon will cost $16.3 million, almost half of the Ravens’ $37 million salary-cap space, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. The tag will have an impact on what the Ravens do in free agency. Now, Judon and the Ravens can work on a long-term deal.

“I’d rather have a long-term deal for stability, “Judon told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “It is what it is. I feel like this is what many of us go through that are facing free agency. At the end of the day, I know I’m playing football next season.”

The last five players to be tagged by the Ravens, Chris McAllister, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Ray Rice, and Justin Tucker, all got long-term deals that made them one of the highest-paid players at their positions.

Last year Judon had 54 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. He also made his first Pro Bowl and led the league with 25 quarterback hits. Judon had the fifth-best pass-rush productivity in the NFL.

The Ravens couldn’t afford to lose Judon. Last offseason, they lost Za’Darius Smith to the Green Bay Packers and Suggs to the Arizona Cardinals. If they had lost Judon then they wouldn’t have a pass rush and would struggle defensively.


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