Bill Belichick and the Patriots continue to make their presence felt on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering free agency period. As first reported by Ian Rapoport, the team is finalizing a deal with former Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon.
According to Adam Schefter, it’s a four-year contract worth up to $56 million, including $32 million guaranteed. The deal makes Judon the highest-paid defensive player in team history.
Judon is coming off of his second-straight Pro Bowl season. Playing under the franchise tag last year for Baltimore, he recorded 50 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, and six sacks in 14 games. In five total seasons with the Ravens, the 28-year-old recorded 34.5 sacks and 54 tackles for a loss in 76 games.
A fifth-round pick out of Division-II Grand Valley State in 2016, Judon started his career as a pass rush specialist but has become a true three down linebacker. At 6-foot-3, 261 pounds, he can play all along the defensive front. Expect Bill Belichick to move him around the formation potentially on a snap-by-snap basis.
Judon also gives the Patriots a much-needed veteran presence in the linebacker room, alongside Dont’a Hightower. As things currently stand, all but three of their linebackers (Hightower, Judon, Ja’Whaun Bentley) have two or fewer seasons of NFL experience.
MORE: NFL Free Agency tracker
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.