One thing the Baltimore Ravens have become great at over time is allowing pass rushers to leave in free agency. Just last year, both Za’Darius Smith and longtime great Terrell Suggs left in free agency. Both ended up in the conference championships, with Suggs’ team in the Super Bowl, while Smith will be participating in the Pro Bowl.
There were plenty of other pass rushers that they allowed to hit the open market as well, frequently receiving bigger salaries than they often proved to be worth. The latest could be Matthew Judon, who was the team’s leading pass-rusher last season. Having now completed his four-year rookie contract, even he admits that he doesn’t know where he will be in 2020.
A fifth-round pick in 2016, Judon moved into a full-time starting role in 2019 for the first time. He recorded a career-high 9.5 sacks, also with a career high of four forced fumbles. He also had 14 tackles for loss and 33 quarterback hits, which was among the most in the league. His season was quite comparable to Bud Dupree’s, in fact.
“I don’t know where I’m gonna be at next year”, he told the league’s website earlier this week. “I don’t know. It’s a lot of organizations represented out here. Baltimore got the most. I don’t know, I honestly don’t know. That’s really a decision between me, my GM and my agent”.
Following the Ravens’ surprise early exit from the postseason, head coach John Harbaugh stressed that re-signing Judon would be a priority for their offseason schedule, though also confessed that it would be “very hard” to do so.
The Ravens have a number of key free agent decisions to make this offseason, largely on the defensive side of the ball, including for the likes of Michael Pierce and Patrick Onwuasor. Jimmy Smith is also a name said that they would like to re-sign, but with Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, and Tavon Young—plus possibly picking up Brandon Carr’s option—this feels less likely, depending on his price range.
Outside of Judon, the Ravens’ leading sack-producer of last season was the third-year Tyus Bowser, who recorded five sacks. Nobody else had more than three, including Pernell McPhee, who was one of the players alluded to earlier that they allowed to hit free agency. Jaylon Ferguson, going into his second year, is the only other edge rusher with experience—and not much.