The Baltimore Ravens placed the franchise tag on pending free agent outside linebacker Matthew Judon, which is worth in the ballpark of $16 million. On Sunday, they agreed in principle to a trade for Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell, sending a fifth-round pick for the perennial Pro Bowler, while agreeing to a new two-year contract in the process, reportedly worth $27 million.
The question that now arises is whether or not the Ravens still intend to retain Judon, or if they will look into the possibility of trading him. Even prior to the acquisition of Campbell, there was talk about Baltimore being open to trading the four-year veteran, who became a full-time starter this past year due to free agent departures at the position.
Rumors have been circulating going all the way back to January that the Ravens would be open to a tag-and-trade scenario for Judon, long predating the acquisition of Campbell, a move that seemingly came out of nowhere.
While the two players obviously do not play the same position, they both have a focus on rushing the passer, and Campbell being brought in will help solidify the pass rush. The team still has some young players among their edge rushers such as Tyus Bowser and 2019 rookie Jaylon Ferguson, and they would obviously be expected to add more this offseason.
With the Judon franchise tag and the Campbell acquisition, Over the Cap projects the Ravens to have only about $3 million in salary cap space going into the start of the new league year, so that would seem to add fuel to the hypothetical fire that they could be willing to trade Judon.
There’s no secret that the Ravens are an organization that greatly values its draft picks, whether it’s allowing players to walk in free agency to get compensatory picks or finagling any sort of trade. They traded a backup kicker/punter for the fifth-round pick that they sent to the Jaguars for Campbell. Pretty good deal, I would say.
And one would think they could get better than the 97th-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft if they were able to work out a trade for Judon prior to the start of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dee Ford retrieved a second-round pick a year ago, for example, and Jadeveon Clowney was had for a third and some player considerations.
One thing at least is obvious, which is that Baltimore is not done making moves. $3 million is not enough cap space to get them through the rest of the offseason, so if they’re not restructuring deals or releasing anybody, then Judon would be the likely domino to fall.