Patriots sign Pro Bowl pass rusher Matt Judon
The Patriots have been busy on the NFL’s first day of ‘legal’ tampering. After agreeing to contracts with tight end Jonnu Smith and defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, the Pats also upgraded their pass rush.
According to the NFL Network, the Patriots are signing edge rusher Matt Judon to a four-year, $56 million deal with $32 million over the first two years of the contract. Judon, 28, is a 6-foot-3, 261 pound outside linebacker. He has 34.5 sacks over his five-year NFL career and is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons.
Judon later confirmed that he was signing with the Patriots on his Instagram account.
A fifth-round pick in 2016, the Patriots actually had significant interest in Judon prior to that draft. Instead, the edge rusher was selected by Baltimore, where’s played the last five seasons. Coming to the NFL from Grand Valley State, it didn’t take long for Judon to show his talents. He had four sacks that rookie year and then totaled eight sacks in 2017 and seven in 2018 as a situational pass rusher.
Judon earned his first Pro Bowl bid in 2019 when he finished with 9.5. Sacks, 54 tackles, 14 for loss, and a career-high 33 quarterback hits. Last year, Judon earned his second Pro Bowl after finishing with six sacks, 50 tackles, nine for loss and 21 quarterback hits. By comparison, Chase Winovich led the Patriots with 5.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits in 2020.
Over the last three seasons, Judon has 74 quarterback hits. That’s the fifth most in the NFL behind T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, Za’Darius Smith and Chris Jones. Last season, the Patriots finished tied for 27th in the NFL with 24 total sacks. Simply put, adding Judon would instantly make the Patriots pass rush a lot better.
With Dont'a Hightower returning, after opting out last season, the addition of Judon will give the Pats a formidable front seven.