The Baltimore Ravens have made moves to boost their defensive front and now everything hinges on what the team will do with Matt Judon:
Under the franchise tag, Matt Judon will make $16 million from the Baltimore Ravens in 2020. The Ravens have added to their defensive line with Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers and now the salary cap situation is getting tight. The Ravens have to clear up some cap space and the Matt Judon situation just got really interesting.
On one hand the Ravens put themselves in a position where they almost have to trade Judon. Judon’s cap hit is going to restrict the Ravens from making more moves this offseason and being this tight against the cap isn’t appealing. The Ravens just got incredibly better on the defensive line. Trading Judon would give the Ravens even more draft capital which could be the solution to all their problems.
On the other hand, the Ravens almost have to keep Judon. He’s the best outside linebacker the Ravens. It’s going to be tough finding a better player on the edge, or even filling his shoes in free agency. It typically takes players at least a couple years to start to really shine at the outside linebacker position.
If the Ravens don’t have contingency plan that replaces Judon a trade will take away from the defensive front. The Ravens clear objective in free agency is to strengthen things in the front seven of their defense. Trading Judon is antithetical to that goal.
With the additions to the defensive line, bringing back Judon puts the defense in great shape. The only real void would be inside linebacker and DeCosta could look for more affordable options to add to the outside linebacker position.
The ideal situation is that the Ravens can come to a long-term contract agreement with Judon. This will provide the cap relief the Ravens need while also locking up a very good player. It’s hard to imagine the Ravens adding one of the big names at the position and you have to think that Judon coming back to the team in 2020 is plan A. You have to think that DeCosta is at least exploring plan B.
The Ravens currently have a big time decision on their hands. They can’t rule out a trade because of their cap situation. Looking at what they pulled in for the Hayden Hurst trade makes the idea of trading Judon quite interesting.
There are so many dominoes that need to fall in the pass rushing market. The Jaguars are trying to trade Yannick Ngakoue, who they franchise tagged. Jadeveon Clowney and Dante Fowler Jr. are still available. It’s all going to impact what happens with Judon and the purple and black.
The situation has changed with the moves that DeCosta has pulled off. We’ll have to see what happens. Right now it’s just a waiting game.